Rabbi Weisblum's Sermon Honoring Hadassah April 27, 2002
Good Shabbos everybody!
A warm welcome to all of our members and guests. I would like to dedicate my statement this morning in honor of our past and present officers and members of the Annapolis Chapter of Hadassah.
Hadassah is the organization, whose members are motivated and inspired to strengthen their partnership with Israel and ensure Jewish continuity. HADASSAH, the Women's Zionists of America, is a volunteer organization whose members realize their potential as a dynamic force in American Jewish society.
Founded in 1912, Hadassah retains the passion and timeless values of its founder, Henrietta Szold, Jewish scholar and activist, who was dedicated to Judaism, Zionism, and the American ideal.
HADASSAH is committed to the centrality of Israel based on the renaissance of the Jewish people in its historic homeland. Hadassah promotes the unity of the Jewish people. In Israel, Hadassah initiates and supports pace-setting health care, education and youth institutions, and land development to meet the country's changing needs.
In the United States, Hadassah enhances the quality of American and Jewish life through its education and Zionist youth programs, promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members.
One of the main lessons of our Torah portion of this week is the importance of "Chesed shel Emet" or "loving-kindness". It is the principle of doing good deeds for others when there is no possibility of any personal benefits. Hadassah is a shining example of the practice of Chesed shel emet, or loving-kindness, in all of its wonderful activities. Because of the hard work of Hadassah the lives of many sick people are saved and cured from terrible diseases.
As a result of Hadassah’s efforts there are many outstanding educational institutions functioning in Israel providing excellent academic and vocational training to Israeli youth.
I have personally witnessed in Israel many, many occasions when the lives and well being of people have been saved by Hadassah institutions.
There are two Hadassah hospitals among hospitals in Israel, the biggest in Jerusalem, one on the East Side and one on the West Side.
There is a famous Talmudic teaching: "One who saves even one soul is as if he saved the entire world". How well Hadassah illustrates that principle. We are blessed to have in our midst so many wonderful members of the Hadassah worldwide organization.
We are celebrating Hadassah’s 90th birthday in unparalleled accomplishments and international notoriety. It is my wish that Hadassah should go on from strength to strength and we should model genuine praise to Henrietta Szold’s parents-- the father, a rabbi and the mother, the Rebbetzen Sofi, who in 1909 accompanied her daughter to the Holy Land. It was there that upon witnessing the starvation and diseases afflicting the Jewish people, Rebbetzen Sofi said to her daughter, "This is what your group ought to do…you should do practical work in the Holy Land."
This power, the word and vision of a "Yiddisheh mahmmah" who planted the seed of activism and humanitarianism into her daughter’s heart could serve as an example. Each one of us should be inspired as to the unlimited possibilities and potential as to how high a person can reach individually and throughout the generations.
I encourage you all to reach within yourselves and amongst your Hadassah colleagues to renew the challenge of Henrietta Szold and her mother, Rebbetzen Sofi. Who knows what a difference we each can make in terms of bettering the world and our Jewish people?
I would like to give my blessing to each one of you for good health, happiness and for the successful continuation of your creative and noble work.