“Mommy, today during Parshah (an assembly for the children where they learn the meaning of the Torah portion for the week) my friend Sarah (name changed) stood up and spoke to all of us…
She said that she’s been really lonely at recess and doesn’t have anyone to play with, so she went to the founder of the school and asked if they would get a bench to put outside, and anytime anyone was lonely, they could go sit on the bench and the other kids would see that they needed a friend and they will go sit on the bench with them. The school ordered the bench today. They call it the Mensch Bench.”
I nearly lost my breath at the beauty, the brilliance and the courage of this story, of Sarah, of her ability to transform her pain into power.
If only there were Mensch Benches in every school, on every street corner, what would life be like then?
Mensch is a Yiddish word meaning, human being and a person of integrity.
“I hope that when you see someone who is alone, without friends to play with, you will be the one to go be with them, go sit with them.”
“Mommy, I didn’t even know she was lonely. She’s my friend, but I never noticed…”
Sometimes, we don’t see each other, because, we get so wrapped up in our heads, in our schedules, in our own lives that we forget to look around and make sure the other human beings around us are ok.
It’s stories like this that shake us awake.
It’s fitting that Sarah told her story during Parshah this week, because, this week we begin reading the Torah from the beginning.
Parshat Bereishit is the story of creation and how we all came to be.
G-d created man, and then he realized one man wouldn’t be sufficient. Humans don’t do well alone. He knew Adam needed a companion, so he created Eve. They would experience life together.
Together with the light and the darkness, the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars, the oceans, the trees and the animals. We are not meant to be here alone.
This world is one giant Mensch Bench if we choose to see it that way.
Today, every day, let’s pay attention to each other; if we see our fellow man sitting alone, let’s go sit with him or her and remind them that we are here, too. ~Rebecca