Mitzvah: (Hebrew)-a meritorious or charitable act.
I am 60 years old. Last year I had to leave a profession that I worked in for 25 years for medical/physical reasons. So you can imagine that I have time on my hands. For a couple of decades, I have developed a passion for technology. Oh like most people of my generation, I started out reluctantly but have really been sucked into it. When Windows was going to hell I learned to use Linux. When phones became ‘smart’ I was drawn to the Android operating system. But for some reason the Apple, or Mac, OS never really caught on with me.
Recently one of my High School friend’s Mother passed away. She and her husband were/are both 86 years old. My friend’s Mother really took to the iPad that was given to them but his father found it not as easy. After the funeral we started talking and he asked me if I would teach him how to use the iPad. In the course of the conversation he admitted that technology like that scared him a bit. I assured him that I would work with him and teach him how to get by and ‘be connected’. Now remember that I have never used an iPad or iPhone and a Macbook only rarely. So I went out and bought a used iPad and a book on teaching Seniors how to use it.
Let me jump back here a moment and say that my own father passed away in 1986. He was just 59 and I was 30. My Mother is still alive and has been in Florida for 26 years. My wife’s Mother passed away when she was very young, I believe 5 or 6 and her father passed away when my oldest was 3. So my children grew up without having a close relationship with a Grandparent, and my wife and I raised our children without having the pleasure of sharing the experience with our parents, so to say.
While growing up, I had a close relationship with a few of my friends parents. When at their homes I always felt like a member of the family. My wife and I took this same route with our children’s friends. I always refer to them as my adopted children. To this day, we are in touch with them even though they live all around the Country. We get calls on Mother’s and Father’s Day, Birthdays, Christmas, New Years, etc. We Skype with a few and when asked offer advice.
Yesterday I went over to my friend’s Father’s house and spent the afternoon with him. We talked, a bit. We worked with the iPad for a while until he was getting overwhelmed and then put it away. Afterwards we had pie and sat and talked for about an hour. He told me stories of growing up in New York City, about some of the jobs he had to make money and then all about his courting the girl that became his wife. It was very emotional for both of us. We discussed many things but really just scratched the surface. Suddenly I realized that the afternoon had slipped away and that I had a meeting some distance away at my Boy Scout Council and had to leave. But not before setting a ‘play date’ for next week. We hugged, kissed and were all smiles when I left. As I was getting off of the elevator I noticed a mirror opposite me. In it I saw myself smiling from ear to ear like the Cheshire Cat. When I got into the car I couldn’t wait to call my wife and share my feelings with her.
So really, which of us was performing a Mitzvah?