Danny Siegel
Danny Siegel

A Possible Benefit of Doing Mitzvahs: Protection

There are additional positives to being engaged in Tikkun Olam.  Most striking is a statement in the Talmud by Rabbi Elazar that the Mitzvah-person is protected both en route and on the way back from the Mitzvah:

It was stated, “Rabbi Elazar said, ‘No harm happens to people on Mitzvah missions, neither en route to the Mitzvah, nor on the way back.’”  (Pesachim, page 8b)

The Talmud is clearly not saying that you should put yourself in a dangerous situation physically, as if there were an old-time science fiction force field around you.  It would seem to me that what is being taught is a number of intangibles, namely, psychological, spiritual, and existential protections.  We need only keep in mind that referred pain (e.g., from an amputated leg) and psychosomatic pain are no less real than the tangible types of pain.

With the help of several friends, here is what we came up with: Being engaged in acts of Tikkun Olam MAY or possibly CAN potentially minimize, fight, limit, remove — or even occasionally cure — a sense or feeling of pessimism, discouragement, cynicism, the toxicity of indifference, emptiness, loneliness, boredom, hopelessness, senselessness, meaninglessness, purposelessness, grumbling, insecurity, insensitivity, hardheartedness, whining, meanness, tightfistedness, superficiality, egocentricity and arrogance and condescension, and depression leading possibly to chronic melancholy or despair, envy, the misplaced and overemphasized anxiety and stress.

Significantly, the last on the list – stress — has been proven medically to lead to a variety of physical conditions and diseases.  Thus, because of lower levels of stress — being engaged in Mitzvah/Tikkun Olam acts MAY or it CAN potentially minimize, fight, control, or limit headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, diarrhea, muscle tension, bladder spasms, sleep disorders, hyperventilation, hypertension, and — more seriously — to subsequent incidents of elevated blood sugar, myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, arteriosclerosis.

One additional note: In any discussion of this text, I have always had remarkable comments about why someone is also protected on the way back after having completed the Mitzvah.

About the Author
Danny Siegel is a well-known author, lecturer, and poet who has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on Tzedakah and Jewish values, besides reading from his own poetry. He is the author of 29 1/2 books on such topics as Mitzvah heroism practical and personalized Tzedakah, and Talmudic quotes about living the Jewish life well. Siegel has been referred to as "The World's Greatest Expert on Microphilanthropy", "The Pied Piper of Tzedakah", "A Pioneer Of Tzedakah", and "The Most Famous Unknown Jewish Poet in America."
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