Shabbat Shalom: Be Kind. Always.

Apr 18, 2024 | Article

By: Cindy Coons
Director of Jewish Explorers and Family Engagement

How often has someone asked you, “How are you doing?” and your response is “good” or “okay,” even if you are not. The quote, “You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always,” is a gentle reminder that even when people seem okay on the outside, they may be struggling on the inside.  

This week’s parsha, Metzora, describes the ritual for purifying a metzora, an Israelite who presents with a skin disease. The metzora is required to dwell outside the Israelite camp until the priests come to them and complete the purification process. We can only imagine the shame and isolation felt by those who are exiled and banished from their community. And even when it is deemed that they can return, will they be welcomed back to the community with open arms and without judgment? Will the community recognize and support the visible and invisible struggles they have experienced?    

In the case of the metzora, it was obvious that they were suffering from a skin disease. In biblical times, the challenge was not knowing how to treat or cure diseases. Quarantine was the only way to prevent the spread of disease, which did not consider the mental and emotional impact of being banished from the community, further compounding feelings of shame and isolation.   

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The hope during this month is to increase awareness of and education about mental health and provide resources to help support these efforts, not only during May but also throughout the year. The mental health challenges that individuals face are often invisible, making it more difficult to feel supported and access much needed resources. Like the metzora in biblical times, individuals with mental health challenges may feel shame and isolation due to the lack of awareness and education around mental health challenges. We as a community have the power and responsibility to decrease the stigma, shame, and isolation experienced by our family, friends, and members of our community. We can start with a compassionate and non-judgmental lens, by educating ourselves and our community, and by remembering that, “We never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.” Wishing you a Shabbat filled with an abundance of kindness, compassion, and peace. Shabbat Shalom from all of us at JEWISHcolorado.

For information about mental health resources, visit:
The Blue Dove Foundation
Be Well, an initiative of Jewish Federations of North America

Please email Cindy Coons at with questions or comments.