Mitzvah; Mitzvot: (lit. “commandment”); one of the Torah’s 613 Divine commandments; a good deed or religious precept; according to Chassidut, the word mitzvah stems from the root tzavta, attachment, the mitzvah creating a bond between G-d who commands and man who performs. http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword_cdo/kid/1533/jewish/Mitzvah-Mitzvot.htm
Over the years that I have been coming to Israel, I have learned the meaning of this word, Mitzvah, as I watch my Jewish friends perform many of them. From visiting sick friends in the hospital, supporting a struggling Christian music artist, making quilts for lone soldiers, baskets of food for the hungry, to giving a loving hug to a sad stranger.
In this past week though I have truly experienced the greatest mitzvot. It all started one Monday night in Jerusalem. I was out on a walk with my photographer/videographer, Tom Hunter, when I suddenly started having stomach cramps and waves of nausea. We went back to the hotel, I took a hot shower, and went to bed. The night got worse with fever, chills, and the works. I awoke thinking either a virus or dehydration. The good Dr. Michael Cross, who was on this trip, bought me packets of electrolytes and I began to drink all morning.
Nothing got better, only worse. I managed the strength to drive back to Ramat Gan where I was staying. Tom was due to leave this night. I collapsed on the sofa and fell asleep, only moving once to the bedroom. I slept for the next two days, waking once to email Joy and Ariel, asking them to please come visit Michael because I was too sick to take him touring and didn’t know what was happening.
The Mitzvot begins:
Ariel and Joy show up at my apartment. Joy wakes me to see what is going on and makes me some tea and toast. Ariel takes Michael to Synagogue for Simcha Torah and then off to the airport. Joy and Ariel return to my apartment to stay the night and begin the watch over me. The next day, I sleep more, but finally muster enough energy to shower, then go outside to rest. Joy had taken over my home and was cleaning, making me tea, and giving me medication to relieve the pain. Then we notice a rash on my cheek. Oy Vey… what next?
Later that evening Adriane arrives to take over. I watch these two Jewish women in my kitchen discussing my condition and making plans. I smile at Ariel who smiles back at me as he shrugs his shoulders as to say, “this is Israel.”
Friday comes and now my face is swollen, I am still very sick with virus, and weak. So Joy and Ariel call a taxi and off to the hospital I go. They walk through the whole process with me and stay at my side, keeping Adriane informed. I’m put on an IV of antibiotics and finally am sent home with more antibiotics to take. Adriane stays at my side Friday and Saturday; poor Inbal was wanting so badly to come but she too had become ill. Then Sunday arrives and my face is more swollen and painful. Back to the hospital, Joy at my side. After a series of blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays, and seeing the dermatologist, I am admitted to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Here I stay until the bacterial and viral infections, which have taken over, are gone. IV’s are hooked up and friends continue to stay at my side. To add to this part of the experience, after spending the day at the hospital with me, Joy and Ariel go with Adriane to pack all my belonging up at my apartment and move them to Adriane’s.
Yes this is the greatest mitzvot I have ever experienced.