Delegating CAN be a mitzvah

I know it might sound crazy but I believe that delegating can be a mitzvah. I will explain why. I have been the chair of an auction for my children’s summer camp for  a couple of  summers. It is actually a fun auction since it takes place outside and is really low key but that said it still requires decisions be made, hours be spent and items procured. All things I am happy to do, but this summer I knew I couldn’t take on this job on top of my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. We all have time issues that need to be managed and sometimes we can’t say yes to doing something even when it is something we enjoy doing. So this summer, I looked for a replacement. I invited someone who had helped run the event in the past and hoped she’d be able to step up to chairing the event so that I wouldn’t be in charge. You know what, sometimes when we invite someone to participate, they step up to the plate. They have new ideas, fresh thoughts and can change things up in ways we might not have thought of and often these changes can be for the better. 

So delegating and inviting someone to chair an event, lead a group or step up to do something that might even be out of their comfort zone can be a growth for everyone. My only suggestion when delegating is to be available to the person you have encouraged. Answer any questions that might arise and offer guidance when asked. This can help someone grow in their new position without feeling abandoned. Ultimately the outcome can be a win win for everyone.

Performing Bikur Cholim

994) My dear friend at our synagogue asked me to help out on a Bikur Cholim project.

What is Bikur Cholim? Bikur cholim, “visiting the sick,” in Hebrew, is a term encompassing a wide range of activities performed by an individual or a group to provide comfort and support to people who are ill, homebound, isolated and/or otherwise in distress. Bikur cholim can include such activities as: visiting patients in a hospital, rehabilitation center or nursing home; visiting people who are restricted to their home because of physical or psychological impairment or social isolation;visiting patients in a hospital, taking people who are ill or impaired on errands or field trips; providing telephone contact and reassurance to those who are ill or homebound.

I was asked to send condolence cards to members who had recently lost a loved one on behalf of the synagogue’s Bikur Cholim committee. I didn’t know the recipients or the deceased, but in writing those cards, I some how felt connected with another person experiencing loss. I know my friend thought I could write these cards from my heart. I believe I did.

Your synagogue or community likely has a group like this one to provide comfort to others, maybe you’d like to join it too.

Birthday Mitzvah received

My 40th birthday was last week on Yom Kippur. It was actually probably the best Yom Kippur I have ever had. The fast was easy and I felt great the whole day. I guess attitude is everything. Plus I had the opportunity to read several passages from the prayer book that reiterated the idea of doing acts of kindness. I don’t remember any of them verbatim but that idea was that every little thing effects the world and it’s all good. (My translation is obviously not as eloquent as the prayer book authors but you get the idea.) I sometimes think this 1000 mitzvah blog is crazy and wonder what am I doing tracking all these little things, but I also love noticing an opportunity to do a kindness and actually doing it. I know I am better because of all these little mitzvahs.

764) Drove a friend to and from synagogue for services.

765) Donated money at the supermarket for a local food bank.

766) Picked up trash on the floor at the synagogue/conference center after services. My friend noticed and commented. I know when I see someone doing a good deed I often notice and feel happy about it.

767) Called after a gentleman at synagogue who had dropped his kippah or yarmalke – a head covering worn by men at synagogue – he was so grateful and thanked me, it looked handmade.

768) Donated food to a local food bank as part of the food drive on Yom Kippur.

769) Volunteered at picture day at my kids school.

On my birthday, I got multiple phone calls and emails from family and friends wishing me a happy birthday, which I was very happy to recieve. I think when we remember things that are happening in other people’s lives it makes people realize they are important to us. My favorite call that day was from an aquaintance I know through my networking group, she was working on the groups newsletter and writing up everyone’s birthday for the month. She realized that it was actually the day of my birthday and called to wish me a happy birthday. That’s the sort of crazy thing I would do too and I was very touched and told her so!

A Happy New Year

It’s October. I love October because the leaves are changing (atleast when I grew up on the East coast they did) and it’s my birthday month. This year I will be turning 40. I am excited and thrilled to have reached this milestone. Ironically, my birthday falls on an auspicious day in the Jewish calendar this year. It’s on a holiday called Yom Kippur. This holiday concludes the Days of Atonement. It is a day of fasting, prayer and introspection. When I realized a couple of years ago that my birthday would fall Yom Kippur when I turned 40, I was pretty upset, but as I am nearing this birthday now I am actually okay with this. I think it is a wonderful coincidence. Around 40, you become more introspective anyway so it makes sense that this year I will be “celebrating” that occasion with a day completely focused on that.

752 & 753) Sent out a condolence card and made a donation for someone who recently lost a child family member.

754) Sent out a condolence card to a friend whose brother died.

755) Recently a receptionist did a special favor for me and the next day I brought her a little thank you note and token of my appreciation. She seemed very surprised and touched.

756) My daughter and I had a funny discussion last week about whether this was a mitzvah. She thought it was! I picked up my kids and brought them home as usually, we settled in to do our homework only to realize my daughter had forgotten her book and homework at school. I offered to take her back to school to retrieve what she needed for her assignments. She of course was very grateful.

757) Bought a cake from a young woman who was selling them as a fundraiser.

758) Called the Rebbetzin to check in.

759) Used a recyclable bag at the grocery store.

760) Sent a get well card to a friend out of town who had surgery.

761) Sent a get well card to someone who’d had surgery and was recovering.

762 &763) Recommended to two people a professional association meeting that I thought might be beneficial.

Received two mitzvahs this week. We were out to see a play on Saturday night and afterwards stopped at a restaurant to see if we could get a special dessert. The restaurant had already closed for the night but not only did the owner give me some of the special dessert, he didn’t charge me!! We were with some friends so all of us witnessed this mitzvah.

Received a call from a non Jewish friend to wish me a Happy New Year. That was a wonderful mitzvah.