A mini mitzvah

My friend Katie and I were walking home after class yesterday. In the middle of a pleasant, tree-lined residential neighborhood, a young man asked for help. Dressed in khaki with a bit of a nerd vibe, he asked, “Can you please help me light my candle?” (I quickly wondered if that was, perhaps, the strangest pick-up line I’d ever heard.) Upon receiving our immediately quizzical glances, he explained that it was still passover, the temple candles had gone out and he couldn’t light them. He just needed one of us to strike the match and light the candle.

gooddeedsI said “Sure” and proceeded to follow him to a wind-protected area in order to make fire. He said thanks, and we walked away. Katie was skeptical, not realizing we’d been standing in front a Jewish student services building, or why exactly he couldn’t light the candle. I understood the sundown components, but was confused on the date. With Easter being the day before, I thought passover was done. Apparently I haven’t kept a good calendar because passover was March 30 to April 5, sundown to sundown.

I thought about the man’s small, strange request and how initially uncomfortable I was to help. Light your candle? Seriously? Follow you to the building? What are you trying to do to me? Although I went with my gut instinct–Help? Of course!–I worry about becoming too skeptical to be kind.

Until then, I will concentrate on doing little mitzvahs (a Jewish word, the secondary meaning of which is “good deeds”) to keep my heart soft.

What will you do?


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