Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mitzvah Town

When my kids were little, we had this marvelous book by Michel Schwartz (the artist and craftsman). It told of an amusement park where every ride was another mitzvah. Actually, I have always wanted to create such an amusement park in Israel. Ride the carousel, and reach out to drop a shekel in the tzedakah box. Bounce on the rising challah dough. You get the idea. IY"H, one day when I have $50 million, I will bli neder do my best to build it.
Meanwhile, there's no amusement park, but, B"H, I do live in a mitzvah town.
I just walked into the house and my husband told me, "We got a check for A_____." Hooray. A___ is a 60-something year old gentleman who would like to marry a 60-something year old gentlewoman, but does not have the money to make it happen. So, my kindhearted husband told him he would try to help. And he decided to include whomever else wishes to participate in the mitzvah. He let folks in our town know that someone needed help, and B"H, help has started flowing in. Wow, and just this moment someone called and said that she has two brand new down comforters she'd like to give the couple. Amazing. It makes me want to hug my fellow (woman, of course).
It seems that somehow mitzvot like that sweep through our home, like piles of leaves traveling on gusts of wind. There's a calm quiet day and then suddenly, whoosh, swirl, a pile of mitzvot, like little mounds of leaves, show up by my front door. And I know I'd better dive in right away, before the opportunity to do mitzvot blows to the next location.
You might ask if I have time for this. No, I don't. But Efratians (and friends from all over) make mitzvot so easy that I can't resist.
Almost two months ago, a young person told me about a very horrible trauma that has been life-affecting and for which she needed financial help to get a certain treatment. We asked our community, and B"H, we received help from near and far for that person.
And somehow from one single incident, we've gone into the "Furniture and Cabinet Business." No, we don't sell furniture or cabinets. But, B"H, we have come to know many young people living on hilltops around Eretz Yisrael. Most of them live under very spartan conditions, and we try to help them. You can't imagine how an extra cabinet or a non-broken couch or table changes their lives. These are young idealists, and are willing to live with very little. And so when they get something, anything, it is such a treat for them and such a joy that it lifts their spirits and even those of their neighbors, who come to understand that people in the outside world care about them. Of course, Jews are supposed to be responsible for one another, but sometimes when you live sort of in isolation or so far from other towns, you're amazed that your brethren know you exist. So, we're always collecting stuff, tying it on to our car, and driving out to some hilltop like "Sabba and Savta Santa" (lehavdil) and their white Mitsubishi reindeer. And we wouldn't be able to do that either without the kind hearts and old stuff of our friends.
I've got a big overdue deadline today, so of course, procrastinator that I am, I read a few emails today, and I saw that women are collecting cooked food for new mothers, the ill or whoever needs it. My neighbors are kind people who are even cooking for a mitzvah.
Then there are the women of the Gush Katif Bridal Showers who make parties for GK Brides for the mitzvah.
And the women of Raise Your Spirits who perform for the mitzvah.
And the women of Dames of the Dance who dance for the mitzvah.
And the wo/men of Pina Chama who serve cake for the mitzvah.
And the women of the Clothing Machsan who sort clothing for the mitzvah.
And the wo/men of the Food Gemach who package groceries for the mitzvah.
And on and on and on.
B"H, Mitzvah Town, Gush Etzion 90435. It's an honor and a privilege to be a resident here.
(Hey, just thought of something. We need a MITZVAH TOWN T-SHIRT. Anyone wanna donate 1000???? - Call me. :) )

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