William Hamilton

A Share in this Mitzvah

Once upon a time, about a century ago, a certain gentleman made his way from house to house, collecting support for the Jewish National Fund. Local villagers willfully put coins in his blue and white JNF box. One day he knocked on the door of a shoe cobbler who made an unusual request. He asked the visitor to remove his shoes. He then began to repair them, fastening in new soles. Our visitor asked him what he was doing. 

He said he lacked the funds to financially support the upbuilding of our People’s homeland. Then he went on to explain. “You walk from town to town for such a worthy Mitzvah. I want to have a share in it. Repairing your shoes to ease your journey is the only way I can.” 

Wanting a share in a mitzvah. It’s such an elegant and touching notion. 

This week’s Prophetic passage, in anticipation of next month’s Passover celebration, finds Ezekiel calling for us to adopt a new spirit and a new heart (Ez. 36:26). What can enable such a transfusion today? Only you know what your unique share can be. Writing notes. Sending messages. Waving flags. Perhaps it’s making sure there are enough batteries and transistor radios in stock for Israeli shoppers who worry about power outages as Hezbollah hostilities escalate. For the hostages, join me in signing up for One Minute A Day to keep their plight a top priority in Washington DC.

Our dear friends and treasured KI teachers over the years, Blu and Yitz Greenberg recently told Debbie and me about a therapist friend of theirs. Ordinarily she supports clients who need exemptions from work or IDF reserve-duty for health-related reasons. Ever since October 7th, people have pleaded with her for the opposite kind of letter. Despite physical and psychological limitations, they seek letters that permit them to serve. They so sincerely want a share in this vital, essential endeavor. Upbuilding Israel once again. 

None of them wants war. They simply want to be able to sleep soundly, having safely tucked their kids in bed. May your share in this Mitzvah prove to be an ample-helping in restoring order and upbuilding for our beloved People.

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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