Ethics

For the week ending 6 March 2010 / 19 Adar I 5770

Sharing an Umbrella

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: It was raining rather heavily and I noticed a little elderly man shivering in the downpour, because unlike myself he was not equipped with an umbrella. I very much wanted to protect him from the rain and offered him shelter beneath my umbrella, an offer which he vigorously refused by declaring that he is capable of taking care of himself. What is the right thing to do in such a case?

Answer: Many people, especially older ones, have a sense of pride in their self-sufficiency and resent being pitied by others. In order to overcome such sensitivity it is necessary to make the beneficiary of your thoughtfulness feel as if he is doing you a favor by accepting your offer. This can possibly be achieved by telling him that you feel terrible at seeing him drenched while you are dry and are prepared to close your umbrella to suffer along with him. If you back this up by actually beginning to close your umbrella, there is a good chance that he will do you the "favor" of sharing your open umbrella.

© 1995-2014 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to Ethics

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) and your donation is tax deductable.