“Listen to people you meet with an open and giving heart.”
— Linda Cohen, author of 1000 Mitzvahs, (Mitzvah #552)
Tonight, I performed a mitzvah.
Essentially, a mitzvah is a Jewish term for ‘act of kindness’, and my friend Linda Cohen has done an amazing number of them for her project titled, 1000 Mitzvahs.
Linda started this project to honor the memory of her father, Peter, who had passed away several years ago. Before he died of lung cancer, they were able to spend quality time together, time to discuss various aspects of loss. They agreed that at the funeral, guests would be encouraged to donate to organizations that helped bring out the best in people. They were encouraged to perform a mitzvah. Afterwards, Linda felt that extending this project would be a proactive way to experience “the pangs of grief and sadness.”
Over the course of the next couple years, she proceeded to do 1000 mitzvahs, writing about them, and learning from them. They were related to volunteer work, family moments, money, birthdays, thought, and on and on.
The end result was her book, appropriately titled, 1000 Mitzvahs. It is wonderfully written and is full of great tips and ideas to give back and be kinder.
I think this passage from her book sums it up best,
“When this idea was nothing more than a what-if, just six weeks after my father died. I had no idea the immense benefits and life-changing experiences that would come about as a result of it. It has, indeed, changed the course of my life, and for that and all the other incredible lessons I have learned along the way, I am especially grateful.”
I’d encourage you to order a copy and read how one woman’s loss turned into the rest of the world’s gain.
Peter, your daughter did more than a mitzvah. She did good.
My mitzvah? I stopped by Powell’s Books with my daughter after volleyball to wish Linda well at her book signing. The turnout was wonderful.