Because we are roundly attacked by all media at all times, and are incredibly self-critical ourselves, so we need to be reminded how many of us do really wonderful things.
It's not that I am an oblivious idiot sporting especially thick rose-colored glasses; I can tell you exactly what's wrong with the frum community in general and even get specific according to group.
It's very important to ALSO see the good in ourselves and in each other.
You can only fight darkness with light, not with more darkness.
Furthermore, it's important to sing the praises of regular Jews NOT engaged in grand acts.
If you think about it, Leah Imeinu and Chana were not much more than housewives on the surface. Their major avodah happened behind closed doors.
And even when Chana lost her privacy, she wasn't spotlighted for her profound holiness, but was mistaken for a brazen lush.
Yet these two quiet behind-the-scenes ladies merited their own portions in Tanach.
Leah birthed Mashiach.
And Chana's happily-ever-after finale?
Why, she got to be a stay-at-home-mom of 8 children!
(One of whom became one of the greatest Prophets ever, second to Moshe Rabbeinu.)
If Hashem thinks quiet, unseen acts are so important, then maybe we should too.
The Thoughtful Chassidic Tatty
In other words, rush hour with all the crowding & stress.
As I waited at the bus stop, a chassidic man sat there with his little boy. Then a woman approached pushing a stroller with one hand and holding a small child in the crook of her other arm. Another child clung to her skirt as they moved toward the bus stop.
The chassidic man unassumingly rose with his son and moved to stand on the other side of bus stop, thereby allowing the woman sit on the bench with her children.
(He needed to do this because chassidim - along with many other frum people - do not sit on a bench with the opposite gender. So scooting over wasn't enough; he needed to actually vacate the bench.)
Needless to say, this was very thoughtful of him.
The Little Beit Yaakov Girls with Mesirut Nefesh for Derech Eretz
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two little (3rd- or 4th-grade?) Beit Yaakov girls look at me with concern, put their heads together for a quick whispered conference, then one hoisted herself up on to the lap of the girl sitting by the window, while the girl sitting underneath helped her balance.
Then they called out to me sit down in the newly vacated seat.
Now, I do not know what Beit Yaakov girls wear in other areas, but here, they have enormous backpacks in varying shades of pink that are half the size of the little girls carrying them.
It was humbling to see these two little girls crammed into one seat between their enormous pink sparkly bags, just so they could make a seat available for a perfectly healthy lady standing in the aisle.
I praised them & thanked them, then reassured them that I was fine standing, as anyway, seats would be vacated in another stop or two.
(I was really uncomfortable at the thought of exploiting the goodness these little baalot chessed crammed between the window and their backpacks and each other; I wouldn't have taken seat in such a situation unless I really needed to.)
But these little Beis Yaakov girls continued to hold their position, allowing me to have second thoughts if I wanted (I didn't) before the one finally rolled off the lap of the other. Then they both looked at me quizzically, so I praised them & thanked them again.
A minute later, a row of teenage girls at the back called out to me that a seat had opened up and I ended up sitting next to another little Beis Yaakov girl.
Definitely Not What You Want to Have Happen on a Bus
I wasn't sure what I could do since she was already holding an open bottle of water in her hand and drinking it when she could.
Suddenly, she coughed so hard she vomited phlegm onto her skirt and the floor.
I think we can all imagine how distressing that is.
All I had in my purse was a plastic bag, which I gave her in case she needed to spit up again.
The 2 Beis Yaakov girls (age 11 or 12?) sitting in front of us immediately turned around to help her, cooing sympathetically & reassuringly while one called out for tissues.
A 9-year-old Beit Yaakov girl had an entire package in her backpack, which was passed through the crowd as we started cleaning up the phlegmy girl.
Then the tissue-extracting stopped as one of the helpful girls called out to the tissue-owner if it was okay to use more tissues?
(We all knew it would be, but you've still got to ask.)
"Use up the entire package," came the authoritative answer.
So they continued cleaning up the phlegmy girl, cooing to her soothingly the whole time. (I discovered that they weren't her sisters, which I thought they might be, due to their attentive care toward her, but they did know her.)
One even cleaned off the floor so that no one would step in the gook later.
Then they helped her off the bus at her stop.
The Pious Chassid of Pirke Avot in Action
First of all, these were all very young girls involved.
Yet the entire time, they responded to the unexpected emergency with efficiency and discretion.
(No need to call attention to one's helpfulness nor the state of the phlegmy girl, who is embarrassed enough as is. Other than calmly & briefly calling out about the tissues, there were no raised voices or drama or even a startled "Omigosh — Sara just threw up!")
Also, it is disgusting to clean up someone else's phlegmy vomit with tissues (despite it being perfectly possible to do so without getting one's hands messy) because it just is.
Yet these young girls did so without making faces and without hesitation. They were completely focused on the needs of the suffering little girl.
They displayed so sense of self-importance, just concern for the other.
Finally, despite the distressing situation, they still had the presence of mind to ask the tissue-owner if they could use so many tissues.
Of course, we all KNEW the tissue-owner would say yes.
But there is the famous verse from Avot 5:10, which proclaims "sheli-shelcha, shelcha-shelcha — What's mine is yours; what's yours is yours" as the attitude of a righteous person.
So the first two girls fulfilled the second part of the verse: "shelach-shelach — This is yours. This situation is urgent, but not a real emergency. We need to follow the courtesy of at least asking your permission, even though we know you'll say yes. What's yours is YOURS."
And the tissue-owner fulfilled the first part of the verse: "sheli-shelach — You need my tissues, so now they're yours."
That was the most quintessentially Jewish part of the whole shebang.
And no offense to anyone, but I grew up in non-Jewish and secular Jewish culture. That extra step of instinctive consideration in the middle of an urgent situation?
I never saw it in the outside world. On the contrary, movies and books always show urgent situations as permitting a hefkerut of others' possessions. It's even idealized.
And there was a certain rhythm to it all. Everyone behaved like clockwork.
And the girl who even clean off the floor out of consideration for others' shoes? Chessed & thoughtfulness until to the end — and all performed in an automatic & unassuming manner.
Of course they knew they were being good and behaving correctly, but they clearly did not think they were special.
But they are.
And it's so delicious to see these young Jewish girls instilled with such fine Torah values.
Yashar koach to their parents and schools, and certainly to the innately holy neshamot of these young frum girls themselves.