People of all ages and ethnicities universally love Yiddish. They get that it's a language, not a religion, and yes, it tends to be spoken and used most by Jews. I LOVE Yiddish words. Always have, it was spoken in my home, a bit, by my mother to her sisters, generally on the phone, to make sure that the "kleyner" (the small, or little, one) did not understand. Ahhh yes, the Secrets.
Anyway, I digress.
I always cherish the opportunity to use Yiddish, to spice up a sentence with the perfect Yiddish word that, when translated into English either takes up 10 words to explain a meaning, or misses the boat, because those Yiddish words capture the essence, the subtlety, the soul of what it is referring to. In one word.
People use the word "Mitzvah" *which is the Hebrew word that really reflects a notion of a religious commandment. I am talking about the Yiddish, "Mitzveh," which literally means "good deed." It's one of my fave words, because if I have a reason to use it, or explain it, it generally means a good thing happened, is happening or will be happening. A doing where everyone involved will feel pretty darn good about it. The giver and the receiver, simultaneously both one and the same, giving and receiving.
I unexpectedly found myself in downtown Brooklyn last early evening, an appointment ended early. Moments from Brooklyn Heights, I realized that a perfect person to see was one of my fave people on the planet, the only person alive who has truly known me since birth. Doris Kaplan, my Mother's BFF from the time they were 17 until Mom passed in 1972. I call her "Dora," it was what Marilyn Pillot called her, so when I reached down and called her at 7PM and said, "Dora, I'd love to come say Hi," the glee on the other end of the phone filled me up. Getting off on the 13th Floor on Clark Street (She and her beloved Milt were the first people I knew to move to Brooklyn Heights way back when), there she is in the hallway by the apartment, at the end of the hall. I don't get two feet out of the elevator before we start doing what we do, forever. Kibbitzing, laughing, remembering. Last evening's hour with Dora, in her home filled with memories of her life with Milt and her kids and grandson, she being at 94 the most extraordinarily spirited and with-it and present and wantingtoknowevereything person you can imagine, was the most ideal end to a hot Summer Day. Dora is the closest connection I can have with my Mother, a woman whom I really don't remember, and about whom I Dad never really spoke once she passed. It's a trip to roots that while being mere threads, still exist. In a way that is so unconditional and wonderful. Something that has at times been sorely missing in my life, for so much a part of it. Yes, it was a Mitzveh. We both "won" more than words can describe. An unexpected moment in a day, in life, that no one involved knew was to happen when we woke up. A gift. Pure Magic.
More than ever, I feel it is so important to spend time with people who get who we are, and like us and yes, may even love us. It's the being gotten that is deeply essential. Because being gotten and seen, and held warmly by those who want you/us to be fulfilled and happy for being the full embodiment of who we are and how we want to be and manifest on this planet - your TRIBE - creates the best outcomes for us all, and those we touch.
Yes, those are, indeed, in deed, Mitzvehs.