In the Torah, it is written that there are 613 mitzvot that we as a Jewish people must keep and honor. Some are mitzvot that we should do, and some are mitzvot that describe what we should not do. One of the most fundamental motifs of these mitzvot is kindness. The ways we act, speak and behave towards others are representative of who we are as individuals and who we are as a Jewish people.
Today—November 13th—is World Kindness Day. Although we should be kind every single day, on this day especially, Americans take it upon themselves to be particularly cautious in ensuring that all of their actions are fueled by pure kindness. As Jews, we should all take at least one mitzvah upon ourselves in order to become better Jewish citizens and people in general. There are multiple acts of kindness one can do to strengthen their character today: respect your parents, help people cross the street, give Tsedaka, visit the sick and so much more. You can be creative and find new ways to help others that are meaningful to you and who you are as a Jewish person.
One of the most difficult mitzvot to keep is “Lashon Hara,” or ill-speaking of another person or group of people. With the continuously increasing usage of social media, hatred of others and gossip are found all around us. This ranges from taunting other children on the playground with harsh words to powerful politicians discrediting leaders of other parties. We, the Jewish people, must do everything we possibly can to fix our ways in order to reach salvation and find wholesomeness in our lives. So, I ask of you, starting today and going forward, take it upon yourself to be more mindful of your actions and how you can positively impact others, and most importantly, work to actively inhibit yourself from speaking unkindly about others.
Joanie Dweck is a junior at the Yeshivah of Flatbush. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.