The (big) little things

We last week celebrated our second son’s barmitzvah over a spectacular weekend, overflowing with nachas and filled with song. A personal simcha always lifts the soul.

My wife and I had looked forward to our son’s Torah reading, the grand family get-together and the celebration with our beloved community. What I hadn’t anticipated (or hadn’t remembered from our eldest son’s barmitzvah or our daughters’ batmitzvahs) was how meaningful people’s gestures are. All Friday long, both my wife’s and my phones beeped with short bursts of text mazal tovs. As we started to set up the hall for the next day’s kiddush, people arrived unannounced to schlep tables, lay out plastic-ware and arrange flowers.

One’s son’s Barmitzvah is a major event that takes months of planning. Yet, those little details, messages and interactions add tremendously to the experience. Every “looking forward to your simcha” or “can we lend a hand” message lifted our simcha a notch. Reminders of our son’s childhood antics, a mention of his infectious smile or endearing personality added extra oomph to an already exhilarating day.

“Little things“. They’re never little. A cheery “good morning” can make someone’s day and a “thank you” can cement a relationship.

Small gestures link us to each other. Small gestures link us with G-d. Jews too often imagine that G-d is waiting for our mega-commitments, like a lifetime of Shabbos, a fully kosher home or a daily minyan. In fact, a short morning Tefillin-Shema combo, a dinner at a kosher restaurant or Shabbos candles lit at the correct time solidify our relationship with Him. Waiting to make the big time is a trap. Life is a collection of small, but meaningful gestures.


About the Author
Rabbi Shishler is the director of Chabad of Strathavon in Sandton, South Africa. Rabbi Shishler is a popular teacher who regularly lectures around the globe. he hosts a weekly radio show in South Africa and is the rabbi of Facebook's largest Ask the Rabbi group. Rabbi Shishler is also a special needs father. His daughter, Shaina has an ultra-rare neuroegenratove condition called BPAN. Rabbi Shishler shares Shaina's story and lessons about kindness and disability inclusion on his other blog, "Shaina's Brocha" and through lectures and Kindness Cookies teambuilding workshops.
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