Tuesday, July 23, 2013


My kind friend Galit Breen put this question out there: What's the nicest thing someone has done for you?

I love the question.  Can't pick one - will share several nice ones that come to mind. In the order they exit the top of my head:

1. My dad diving in to a pool from the upper deck to save me from drowning when I was twelve.

2. A friend surprising me by showing up at my door with dinner (with a cab waiting outside, expecting nothing in return) after I moaned and groaned on the phone about a hard day.

3. A friend driving me, wanting nothing in return, from Paramus, N.J. to Staten Island to visit my dad, shortly after my dad tumbled down a flight of stairs.

4. Dad taking me out for special me time to get an ice cream Sunday, when things were tense at home on a young (9?) birthday.

5. Friend who brought me food and drove me to the funeral when my mom passed away.

6. Friend who helped me write my resume and get through the process of getting a job offer and then a new position in my school several years ago.

7. The student who left me an anonymous note saying, "Dear Rabbi, In class I noticed there was a hole in your pants. I think I was the only one who noticed so don't worry! Just wanted to let you know. (It's hard to see don't worry)." -  (It was a glaring hole in a bad spot, totally noticeable and I scurried to get it patched up immediately.)

8. A variety of notes, letters, cards, emails, saying that people appreciated and/or loved/liked me and things I do.

9. People who apologized when I really needed them to.

10. The friend who lent me a thousand dollars when I was 25 and broke.  Years later he said to pass it forward and wouldn't take it back.

11. The friends who put me in the car, drove me to the emergency room, and stayed with me the whole time, when I complained of chest pains in college.

12. The friend who kept going to the Y.U. registrar after I flew to Israel on a one way ticket with a few credits owed and unsure if I wanted a BA. He helped me through the process and I wouldn't have finished my college degree without him.

13. The busload of students that visited me (and the ones who drove, or made their parents or friends drive them, and the teachers who accompanied and drove kids) to see me during shiva.

14. The friend who listened to me and gave to me, and enthusiastically and sincerely reflected my best me back to me, and was there for me in myriad ways, more kindly than anyone else in my life ever was.

15. The Harvard trained colleague who sat in on my class and was genuinely impressed, and told me so, by my creative, spontaneous, and interactive style of teaching (in contrast to his methodical, Times New Roman typed, lecture style).

16. My friend and colleague who cleaned up after me, took me to the doctor, and nursed me back to health when I got really sick one Pesach.

17. My mom getting me a giant teddy bear for my birthday when I was in my thirties to make up for the one she felt I was too old for when I was really young.  And mom again for general support, specifically in encouraging to get my poetry book done.

18. The Yoda like wise rabbi who let me follow him around and ask him anything I wished, who shared his wisdom and caring with me unsparingly.

19. The teacher who has stayed with me as a mentor and friend since high school and who is at the top of the list of people who have been kind to me big time in my life.

20. The people (friends, students, family, anyone anywhere) who not only let me be me but like my being me.


Blogger daniel rosen said...

I once lent you a pen. It wasn't my pen and I didn't lend it as much as ask you to throw it out but, you know.

July 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I know.

You introduced me to tanka and to Lulu.com.

You brighten my days with Torah, pop culture trivia, and support.

You are a good friend and colleague; smart, honest and kind and helpful.

July 24, 2013 at 3:37 AM  

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