My friend Katie and I were walking home after class yesterday. In the middle of a pleasant, tree-lined residential neighborhood, a young man asked for help. Dressed in khaki with a bit of a nerd vibe, he asked, “Can you please help me light my candle?” (I quickly wondered if that was, perhaps, the strangest pick-up line I’d ever heard.) Upon receiving our immediately quizzical glances, he explained that it was still passover, the temple candles had gone out and he couldn’t light them. He just needed one of us to strike the match and light the candle.
I thought about the man’s small, strange request and how initially uncomfortable I was to help. Light your candle? Seriously? Follow you to the building? What are you trying to do to me? Although I went with my gut instinct–Help? Of course!–I worry about becoming too skeptical to be kind.
Until then, I will concentrate on doing little mitzvahs (a Jewish word, the secondary meaning of which is “good deeds”) to keep my heart soft.
What will you do?