By Sunny Simon

Of course I know what a Bar Mitzvah is, but this week when a friend of mine told me a story of kindness and compassion I learned another meaning of a “mitzvah”. Kippy, who lived in Israel for years prior to returning to the United States, spoke about a particular Friday when her city was preparing for a festive Shabbat dinner. Inspired by mitzvah, (which literally means commandment) the word also takes on the meaning of a charitable or beneficial act; she began thinking about the volunteer army and the uninteresting rations they would have for dinner.

If you ever met Kippy, it would not take long before you realized she is a doer and a giver who is also gifted with exceptional organizational skills. Armed with the knowledge that her community would soon be busy preparing the evening meal, she engaged each household in an impromptu project. Kippy asked each family to prepare an extra meal. All the plus-one meals would be delivered to the nearby troops. Kippy requested an additional action on the part of the donors. She instructed each household chef to include his or her phone number in the food gift.

My friend understood it was a common practice to give anonymously, but something told her this act of kindness could translate to more than a Friday night dinner. She was right. Phones began ringing inside this small gated community. Soldiers surprised and delighted with the homemade feasts reached out to share a greeting and thank their donors. What began as a standard Friday evening turned into a circle of goodwill thanks to Kippy.


I walked away thinking, just like one of the infamous Aesop’s Fables, Kippy’s story had a powerful moral to it. Although an anonymous kind deed is noble, sometimes we should be up close and personal with the recipient of our actions. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author and Emanu-El Scholar, has been quoted as saying “I think the poor man wants to know who’s giving the gift, and the rich man wants to see the smile on the poor man’s face.”

Studies suggest that givers derive more benefits from the act of giving than from the benefits their gifts generate for others. So this week, borrow a page from Kippy’s book. Think about reaching out in person to help a friend, a stranger or a soldier. As Aesop taught in “The Loin and the Mouse,” “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at