One Mitzvah Leads to Another Mitzvah
Allen shares a pair of stories meant to inspire the Atlanta Jewish community.
I am writing a book called “101 Inspiring Stories.” Here are two of them. I welcome your story. Send it to [email protected].
Story No. 1: My granddaughter, Bari Beilinson, lives in a Moishe House in Atlanta. These Moishe houses are established around the world to bring young people, ages 22-40, together to keep them in touch with Judaism. For several years, she was invited to a Moishe camp in the Washington, D.C. area that attracted several hundred young Jews from the northeast. The objective of these get-away camps is to continue to allow Jews, generally out of college and beyond, to stay in touch with Judaism without having a specific connection to a formal synagogue or aspect of Judaism.
Bari spent considerable time developing several artistic events for the campers. One of those creative offerings that she developed was a wood burning event. She had the camp order dozens of wooden mezuzahs that could be used for wood burning. The campers had to sign up for the event, and there was great interest in burning something Jewish on the outside of the mezuzah. Bari brought several different designs for the campers to use, like a Jewish star, the Jewish letter “shin,” which signifies G-d, or a copy of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Many of the campers were not very observant Jews, and indeed, two of them were people who had very little Jewish identity. When these two guys did the wood burning on their mezuzah, they said that they had never put up a mezuzah in their home, but because they had actually created one now, they would install it on their home. It would be their first time ever to put up their own mezuzah. One never knows where a change in your life can occur.
Story No. 2: Bob (the name was changed out of respect) had Parkinson’s disease. It developed gradually over four years, and Bob was nearing the end. His wife decided that the only place for Bob was at home with a hospital bed and a complete nursing staff to handle any medical issues. She hired a fulltime nursing crew, and the main staff member was named Paul. The nursing staff took care of Bob extremely well.
Several days before Bob died, nurse Paul had an appointment that was going to take him away from Bob’s home for about 15 minutes. He was reluctant to leave his patient for even that short period of time, but Bob’s wife encouraged him to keep his appointment because her husband was in the hospital bed at home sleeping quietly. She did not think there was going to be any problem for that short period of time.
Shortly after nurse Paul left for his appointment, Bob defecated in his bed and his wife did not know what to do. She thought that Paul would clean up the mess as soon as he got back to the house, but she wasn’t sure when that would be, so she called Paul. Once he heard that there was a problem, he told her that he was turning around, regardless of his appointment and would come back to the house immediately to clean up his patient. He told her that staying in bed with a bowel movement could create a major skin rash and he wasn’t going to let that happen.
Paul rushed to Bob’s home and cleaned up Bob’s mess, and then left again to make his appointment, but the person he was going to meet did not wait and left. Paul missed his appointment, which was not a serious matter, so he stopped at a gas station to buy some food for himself. Paul only had a $20 bill and the clerk at the gas station told him that he didn’t accept cash anymore since he could not give Paul change. Only credit cards were accepted for security purposes, so Paul could not buy any food for himself.
Since Paul had played the lottery in the past, he decided to take a chance on another lottery ticket and bought one with his $20. Lo and behold, he was a winner with that ticket for the sum of $500.
This is the case where Bob’s wife was doing a mitzvah for nurse Paul to make his appointment, and Paul did a mitzvah to give up his appointment to take care of his patient, and because the appointment was missed Paul stopped at a gas station and won $500, another mitzvah.
Both stories are clearly the case where one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah.