Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Fillipino and the Jewish Question.

My Grandfather recently began to employ a Filipino man to assist him during his day. Thank God, Grandpa is in great health for his age, but some tasks are not so easy even for the healthiest nonagenarians. Now with an assistant around the clock, getting dressed is easier, Grandpa doesn't need to worry about what might happen if he falls, and he can be more confident doing a whole range of activities in the knowledge that he has a carer and companion.

The man who looks after him is gentle and caring and absolutely dedicated to Grandpa. He demonstrates a deep sense of concern for Grandpas' well being and is there every minute. He is intelligent and cheerful, he clearly loves people, and is tireless in his care for Grandpa. All around Israel, I see many elderly gentlemen and ladies in parks and streets assisted and accompanied by Filipino carers. And here I have two (rhetorical) questions.

What is it about the culture of this nation that engenders such patience and love, care and gentleness, such wonderful human compassion in its people? They are so dignified, happy, kind, good hearted and good natured, giving. What are they doing right?

And what about OUR people. WE have the mitzva והדרת פני זקן. It should then, be Jewish youth who care and attend to our elderly. We should be a shining example to mankind in this area! Why are we , the Jewish people, not the most respectful and earnest, capable and loving carers the world round? Is this not our legacy? Why are all the carers not Jews imbued with a sense of mission that this is truly the most special Jewish act? (or Mitzva DeOraita if you so wish!) Is the answer education? A more charitable society at large? How can we instill that passion, that sensitivity and kindness, that commitment and patience, that kindness, in our children?

2 comments:

ilan said...

A really good question. I have no good answers, but perhaps the first step is asking that question - because God knows, we don't hear it asked enough.

עזרא said...

At least from an American perspective, we look at jobs like that and see them as somewhat menial. The fact that this is how a person is making a living and supporting himself, just doesn't fit well with our ambitious attitude and mindset. (I'm not saying I agree, but its a reality.)
For the record, a friend of mien does take care of his grandfather like that...