23 February 2012

שעת החסד

Eleven years ago I walked across the NYU campus to the Law School, where I had my cheek swabbed by some volunteers from the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.  What are the chances that I'll ever be called, I asked.  And besides, if I might one day save a life, well, how could I resist this ultimate privilege?

Lo and behold.

Upon returning from Israel last week I got an urgent call.  My number was up.  And with a frighteningly inspiring efficiency, was led to fill out a form on a website, sent this morning to a donor center in Brooklyn, and donated seven vials of blood.  It might have been my eagerness to fulfill this mitzvah but the blood was literally shooting out of my vein into the vial.  I think there were bubbles.

"Breath easily, friend," noted Pearl, a radiant African American nurse.

"It's an incredible color," I said, calming.

"Nothing is more beautiful than the color of blood," she said.  Her smile was beatific.

If the blood matches, I go the next round.

Keep you posted.

In the meantime, thank God for the selfless mitzvot performed by these others, who have enabled me to climb aboard this chariot of possibility--if only for a time.

Yehuda Amichai once wrote a poem about שעת החסד, an "hour of mercy."  That's how it feels.  A fleeting moment, weighted with grace, which may never come again, to save a life.  But of course to be humbled in the reminder that every day there are thousands who seize such moments, and in so doing, redeem our world.

1 comment:

Christian said...

Great story. God is great.