Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How do we love G-d with all our heart, soul and might?

Have you ever noticed that it seems that situations close together in chronology appear to compliment each other, even though they do not seem at all related?

A few weeks ago, I was talking baseball with my son, (which often we do), and I was trying to recall the name of a certain pitcher from the eighty's, and simply could not remember his name. Immediately, I remembered a patient whom I had visited in the hospital a few months ago and thought of his incredible knowledge of baseball history, and how he enjoyed talking baseball during our many visits. Right then, I wanted to call him, but got busy and after a few hours, the name of this pitcher became trivial and inconsequential; and its importance forgotten.

This past week, while leaving the hospital, I was approached by this wonderful man's wife in the parking lot, and she told me that his disease had progressed and that he was back in the hospital. On Monday night, he passed into Olam haBa, ending his pain and his suffering before we ever had the chance to talk baseball again. This saddens me.

These past two Shabbatot, we read from the Book of Deuteronomy, and the Parashot of V'Ethchanan and Ekev. In these weekly portions of Torah, we are told that it is our duty and obligation to love G-d with all our hearts, all of our souls and all of our might.

My dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Stewart Vogel led a tremendous discussion about love. The love of a parent; the love of a spouse; the love of G-d. Rabbi Vogel taught us to not just define love, but to look into ourselves to find our own definition.

In this way, I came about realizing that to love G-d, is to love ourselves, as we do our neighbors; as we love strangers. As we are all made in G-d's image, how could we not?

Without even being conscious of it, our work with seniors and the infirmed defines exactly how we can love G-d with all our hearts, souls and might. By merely visiting and providing them with the Judaic connection that many of them have lost so many years ago, we are able to allow our Neshamot, our souls connect with theirs and in doing so, we are loving G-d in a way that many of us have long forgotten.

With this in mind, I would like to tell you about Mobile Rabbinical Chaplaincy Services.

Providing Rabbinic visits to Jewish patients and residents of Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, Board and Care and Hospice Facilities, our goal is to help bring Judaica to Seniors who, otherwise would not have a connection. In addition, we provide On-Call Chaplaincy services for emergency situations such as hospitalizations and End-of-Life events. We specialize in End-of-Life Chaplaincy and Palliative Care for patients with terminal illness, as well as providing grief counseling services for families in need.

As we never charge the patients or residents, our services are supported solely by the generosity of others and as a Religious Organization, our supporters are able to enjoy tax deductions as with any 501(c)3 recognized group.

Our goal is to recognize and serve as many seniors as we are able, and eventually to bring other Rabbis in many locations into the fold to help more people. In so doing, hopefully, we will all be able to love G-d in one more caring way.

Our Facebook page may be found at, and our website is currently under construction, but will soon be available at

Would it not be wonderful if we knew that our parents and grandparents had a Rabbi visiting them a few times a week, and available to them twenty-four hours a day in emergent situations?

When next we read the Shema and ve'Ahavta/ve'Haya im (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21) let us all think of our seniors and what we all can do to show our love for G-d; with all our hearts; with all our souls and with all our might.

From Sunny Southern California, I wish you Ahavah u'Vrachot. Love and Blessings.

--Rabbi Alan Abrams

1 comment:

  1. Working with seniors has been the most fulfilling part of my Jewish journey, even more than teaching children, because I've seen divine sparks blaze that have been hidden for decades. A short visit, a song, a prayer, a blessing, or a verse or two of Torah makes a huge impact in the life of a senior, whether they have been connected or disconnected from Jewish life for years. Especially if you are not (or were not) available to visit your own family members, it's like paying it forward -and an honor and a privilege to be there for someone else's parent or grandparent.