Sunday, January 27, 2008

"To Appreciate The Bigness Of The Small Acts"

(Picture courtesy of

Excerpt from One Baby Step at a Time: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood:

Teacher Leah Golomb taught me another idea about how to commend ourselves for our teeny daily accomplishments. She told me that when she was engaged to her husband, she and her friend Dina stood together as Dina set out the white cloth she was going to use to make Leah's wedding dress. Dina took the scissors in her hand, and as she cut into the fabric she declared, "Le-shem mitzvat haknasat kallah" ("In honor of the mitzvah of marrying off the bride"). Leah describes how this simple statement moved her so much that it brought tears to her eyes, seeing how Dina's declaration transformed the mundane tasks of cutting and sewing and embroidering into mitzvot, infusing Dina with awareness of the holiness and greater purpose of what she was doing.

And we as mothers can do the same thing in order to appreciate the bigness of the small acts of our mothering lives. As I walk to pick up Dafna from kindergarten, I can say, "Le-shem mitzvat gemilut hasadim" ("In honor of the mitzvah of performing acts of lovingkindness") As I fry up scrambled eggs for dinner for the third time this week, I can whisper into the frying pan, "Le-shem mitzvat ve'ahavta le're-akha kamocha" ("In honor of the mitzvah of loving your neighbor as yourself") As I sew a button onto Tiferet's favorite Shabbat dress, I can declare to everybody in my household, "Le-shem yichud Kudsha Brikh Hu u-Shekhinteh" ("In order to unite the Holy One with the Divine Presence") - the mystical result of every good deed we perform.

Sounds silly? Probably. Will it work? It does for me. This is one of the best ways I have found to remain present throughout my day, and constantly (or at least occasionally aware) of the importance of the smallest acts of mothering kindness.


At January 27, 2008 at 4:59:00 PM EST, Blogger Gandalin said...


At January 28, 2008 at 1:54:00 PM EST, Blogger Alice said...

I just learned that when one acknowledges that something is a mitzvah when doing the act it has powerful mystical ramifications. So this makes perfect sense. It's good for self-esteem too because you see how many great things you really do in a day. It gets you into a positive spiritual spiral. At least that's how I see it. : )

At January 28, 2008 at 11:35:00 PM EST, Blogger Batya said...

Very beautiful post.


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