A mitzvah, according to the official definition, is a commandment of the Jewish law, of which there are 613 found in the Torah.
But the more colloquial definition of a mitzvah is "a good deed".
In my grand daughters' preschool the children are encouraged to do mitzvahs each day, and every morning as the children arrive each parent is given a little paper leaf on which to write any mitzvah that the child might have performed for the teacher to share with the rest of the class.
There's also a little song that the teacher sings if a child performs a mitzvah at school, and parents are likewise encouraged to sing the song if the child performs a mitzvah at home. The song goes to the tune of Ach Du Lieber Augustin and the lyrics are:
(Whoever) did a mitzvah, a mitzvah, a mitzvah,
Oh, (Whoever) did a mitzvah, a mitzvah today!
On Tuesday morning, while I was on the last leg of my over-long flight home from Los Angeles and still in a medium funk over having lost my camera the day before (see yesterday's post), my daughter and son-in-law were rushing around to the daily 7 am hustle of getting themselves ready for work, the children ready for preschool/daycare, and all of them out the door.
But this morning their two-year-old was being recalcitrant. Though she knew the drill: potty, breakfast, clothes on, teeth brushed and, if all those tasks were whisked up lickity-split, maybe a quick book, still she refused to peel herself up from the bathroom floor.
"Come out here for breakfast," called her Daddy from the kitchen where he was setting her and her sister's breakfast on the table.
"No! Gahmee, (her pronounciation of her word for me, "Grammie")" she called, followed by a string of words in two-year-old patois, further muffled by the distance from the bathroom to the kitchen.
"Grammie's not here, Baby, she's on the airplane to Columbus," her Mommy called from the bedroom where she was fixing her hair, "go eat your breakfast!"
"No! Gahmee whatever, whatever, whatever! " she called more insistently, still refusing to budge from her spot on the floor.
"Baby, Grammie can't carry you today, she's gone home! Go eat your breakfast!" called Mommy, "Come on now, Grammie's, gone home!" called Mommy.
"Come on now, Grammie's gone home!" called Daddy
"Come on, now, Grammie's gone home!" called her big sister.
"GAH-MEE-WHAT-EV-ER-WHAT-EV-ER-WHAT-EV-ER!!" she shouted.
"Don't make me come and get you!" called her Daddy sternly as he strode from the kitchen to the bathroom.
"Come on now, off the floor!" demanded Mommy as she reached down to pick up the two-year-old, who seemed fixated on something she was reaching for under the sink cabinet.
"Gahmee cahmwah!" she cried.
"Wait, did she just say "Grammie's camera?" asked her Daddy, now standing in the bathroom doorway.
In fact, she was saying just that. Apparently, while investigating in the way that toddlers do along the floor level that is their natural territory, my little grand daughter recognized the shape under the sink cabinet as the gadget that Grammie seemed to love the way she herself loved her little stuffed monkey.
It wasn't until shortly after I got back home that I remembered to turn on my phone, which I'd had to turn off for my flight.
I had a text message, and when I opened it here's what I saw:
I rejoiced as mightily as the old woman in Luke's Gospel who found her lost coin.
This morning my camera arrived home via Fed-Ex. So I'm back in the photo business and will be catching up on my unposted-due-to-lack-of pictures Los Angeles travel blogs.