Who, more than Nancy, taught us this message!?
As the letters pouring in from her friends testify, Nancy was
a living Kiddush Hashem. She lived amongst Jews and
non-Jews, secular Jews and religious Jews—and she made
a tremendous impact on all of them. She would not desecrate the Shabbos,
even on a far-away bike tour. She would not eat non-kosher food,
even when everyone else did. Nancy was different. As she would
explain to all her friends and to everyone who came into contact
with her, a person must not only think of herself all the time.
A person must also think of G-d. She prayed every day, and her
friends saw this. They saw a person who had normal interests
like their own, and still thought of Hashem and lived
accordingly. Nancy brought Judaism to so many people who would
never otherwise have come into contact with it.
Did I appreciate this aspect of Nancy? Was I willing
to bring the beauty of Judaism to those bikers in Northern California,
or to the skiers of Vail, Colorado? Nancy was ready and willing.
Nancy did it all without fanfare; all I knew was that she was
taking another trip out west, without an appreciation of the
contribution she was making. I should have seen it. I should
have respected her for it, as she so richly deserved. If only
I’d known. If only I’d opened my eyes and seen.
Nancy taught us to look beyond the surface. To
appreciate all people for who and what they are, because they
are a part of the team. They may be accomplishing great things,
achieving a level of service of Hashem that we ourselves
have not attained. We must always remember this lesson. The next
time we look at someone, we must stop and think: Is he contributing
to our team in a way that I am not?
If we think hard, I’m sure we will find that
he is. And our Ahavat Yisrael will grow.