Opinion: A mitzvah a day keeps misery away
PUBLISHED: 08:30 16 November 2019
This Sunday (November 17) will be Mitzvah Day. Most Jews understand a mitzvah to mean a good and kind deed. But in Hebrew, the word actually means a divine commandment.
Rabbis will say that every day should be a mitzvah day, when we should all make an effort to do something good for another person.
But every year, on the national Mitzvah Day, Jewish communities organise to make doing a mitzvah just that little bit easier. Our rabbis never asked whether we should do our mitzvah to benefit a fellow-Jew or a needy non-Jew - they taught that we should do both:
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'We must support the non-Jewish poor alongside the Jewish poor; we must visit the non-Jewish sick alongside our sick fellow-Jews, and we must attend the funerals of our Jewish friends as well as those of our non-Jewish friends - all for the sake of good-neighbourly peace' (Talmud)
A charity called the Trussell Trust tells us that in the UK, 14 million people live in poverty, including 4.5 million children. So this year, Mitzvah Day is asking you to collect non-food items to support those in need - toiletries, household cleaning materials, tampons, nappies and other baby-care supplies.
Whatever you give can be dropped off until Friday, November 22 at the Jewish Community Centre (Sinclair House) in Woodford Bridge Road, at Chabad Gants Hill on the Eastern Avenue, at La Boucherie in Barkingside High Street or at the Chigwell Synagogue on the Limes Farm Estate in Hainault.
A mitzvah a day keeps misery away!