Friday, March 15, 2013

Chesed Shel Emes in USA - Who Was First?

Similar to the case with bikur cholim, discussed in a previous post here about pioneers of bikur cholim in America, in recent years we have seen the emergence and growth of Chareidi/Hassidic organizations such as Chesed shel Emes and Misaskim, who deal with מיתי מצוה ר"ל. One is given the impression from some of the reports about their activities that they are the pioneers in providing burial for such cases in the USA. The reality is though, that that is very far from the truth. Over one hundred and twenty years ago the Hebrew Free Burial Association, חברה אגודת אחים חסד של אמת, was started in New York, and continues to this very day.

It is fine and well for new groups to get involved in such holy work. But at the same time, credit must be given to those who preceded them and they should not imagine or pretend that they were the first ones to perform a certain mitzvah.

P.S. Do I see a pattern here? Definitely. These types claim that they invented bikur cholim, chesed shel emes, shemiras Shabbos, limud Torah, gemachs...Maybe they strengthened them..but invented? No way.


  1. HFBA only recently started doing Tharas, and yes the ime line that it takes them to be M'kaver a nifter is much longer then it takes Chesed shel emes, and as for misaskim they do claim that they do it, but have no bais hachaim, just 3 or 4 photos going back a few years ago

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I don't know at the moment if what you say is correct, but assuming that it is, it still doesn't take away my point, that the etzem inyan, the basic inyan of chesed shel emes, free burial for someone who is in need of such, existed a long time ago in the USA. Perhaps it wasn't always at the highest level, but it did exist.