We started out the fall with a lovely Shabbat under the Stars event where Ann and Elliot Eisenberg hosted 85 Hadassah members, friends and family. The Israeli themed cuisine was well received and the service inspirational. As part of Hadassah’s Mitzvah project this year, participants brought school supplies to be delivered to a local school.
In its primary meaning the Hebrew word Mitzvah literally means “commandment”. A mitzvah is not simply a “good deed”. Mitzvoth are not mere divine suggestions on how to be good. Mitzvoth are commandments traditionally understood to come from God and are intended for the Jewish people to observe.
In its secondary meaning Mitzvah refers to a moral deed performed as a religious duty. As such it has come to express an act of human kindness.
Not surprisingly, there is controversy between those who seek the purpose of the Mitzvoth and those who do not question them. The former believe that if people were to understand the reason and the purpose for each mitzvah it would actually help them to observe and perform the mitzvah. The latter argue that if the reason for each mitzvah could be determined, people might try to achieve what they see as the purpose of the Mitzvah without actually performing the mitzvah itself which would become self-defeating; that the Jewish people should observe the mitzvoth simply because God commanded us to do so.
But, whatever reason motivates someone to observe the commandments is, in Jewish tradition, less important than the actual doing of the Mitzvoth themselves – How we behave in this world, towards our fellow human beings and the world we live in, is ultimately of more importance than what we may believe.
As members of Hadassah we perform many mitzvoth by following and by doing all that we do each day to promote Hadassah’s values:
PIKUAH NEFESH….We Must Value Life One Life at a Time
KLAL YISRAEL… We Must Embrace That We are One
TIKKUN OLAM….We Have a Duty to Repair the World
M’DOR L’DOR…We Must Teach the Next Generation to Care for Each Other & the World
Lee Bank and Sally Goldberg, Richmond Hadassah Co-Presidents