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In Pirke Abot, Shammai says that we should always greet people with a pleasant countenance. We may not realize it but what the great sage is suggesting is that we always show another that we care about him or her. It's not what you say but how you say it that can communicate this all-important message to another.

The fact of the matter is it also applies to listening when another is speaking. How often a person tries to tell another something that is so important to the speaker and yet he or she gets the feeling that the friend is not even listening. All it really takes is a little eye contact, a well placed facial expression or a well-timed inquiry or comment to give the speaker the assurance that his or her life --it's ups and downs-- matter to you --because the person who is speaking matters to you.

G-d made people need attention as badly as plants need water. So when you show someone that you care you are actually giving him or her the necessities of life.

Today--when someone tries to tell you something and you are just too busy and involved in your own little world to really care--stop! Remind yourself that friendship and caring is what makes the world go round. It only takes a minute and of all the gifts you could give someone--a very inexpensive pause and a word to show that you care gives life itself.

Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Project Genesis, Inc.



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