Many years ago I adopted the practice of using a standard table shtender during davening. I flip it on its side when davening Shemoneh Esrai. My weekday shtender costed $12 and is made of plain wood. After using it for a number of years, it falls apart often and I have to put it back together.
This week when I walked into Shul, I saw that my davening neighbor had gone through the trouble of glueing the shtender back together. I was touched and thanked him a number of times. We’ve been sitting next to each other for years, we exchange “Have a good day” goodbyes when we leave, we’ve invited each other to our weddings, but I’m calling this an act of love.
Love is a having a deep connection to another. We can talk about the love we have towards our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings, our extended family, and our close friends. But in reality, we have an obligation to love every Jew, that is to feel a deep connect to every Jew. Rabbi Dessler says we can increase our love by giving, and Rabbi Noach Weinberg of Aish HaTorah recommends developing love by focusing on the positive aspects of each fellow Jew.
So my davening neighbor went out of his way to fix my shtender, beyond the call of normal Shul behavior, and I was truly touched by this act of love. If I can prevent this act from receeding into the backyards of my memory, I can continue to deepen my emotional connection to my neighbor. May we all be zoche to transform our acts of kindness into acts of love and connection.