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Say What You Mean…

Friday, 29 January 2010


1 person in every 6 lives in hunger...

I’m starving.

How many times a day do you say this? How many times a day do your children say this.

I’m starving.

I admit it. I used to say this when I hadn’t eaten in a few hours. When the noises in my tummy were audible to a classmate. Or sometimes just for effect.

But, like all words, those words have meaning. And thank God, I have never had to mean them. I have never known true starvation. The only reason I have ever had for going to bed hungry was my own refusal to eat something put in front of me.

I’m starving.

Becoming a mother radically altered my sensitivity to this phrase. The idea that there are mothers who must put their hungry children to bed nightly without knowing if their hunger will be satiated the next day horrifies me. I cannot imagine the pain felt by those women. Or by their children.

In advance of my birthday, I received a lovely email from Facebook, asking me to give people the opportunity to do a mitzvah in honour of my birthday. OK — it was phrased a little differently, but that was the essence of the email.

I figured that a few relatives or close friends might take me up on this crazy idea. What I didn’t expect is that within a few hours of posting my Birthday Wish, people who are not related to me (and are, therefore, NOT obligated to get me anything) chose to mark my birthday with a gift of tzedakah to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

I am touched by their thoughtfulness. And hopeful that with such acts of justice, that awful phrase will be eradicated along with hunger.

Keyn y’hi ratzon — may this be God’s Will

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lael permalink
    Sunday, 31 January 2010 8:59 pm

    You are right. I’ve thought of this, too. I have to stop myself from using that expression, because I really don’t know what it’s like to be starving.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 1 February 2010 12:53 pm

      Thank God we don’t know from that. It takes a little time for retraining, but then you’ll be especially sensitive to when others use it.

  2. Monday, 1 February 2010 10:46 pm

    Striking post.

    I am working on being more deliberate with what I say. Mindful. And to say what I mean.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 2 February 2010 12:00 pm

      It can take a great deal of discipline, sometimes, to be mindful of speech. But imagine how wonderful our world would be if everyone did it!

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