What h A Mitzvah Hero?
Writer and poet Danny Siegel, "American Jewry's
leading expert in micro-philanthropy," according to
Leonard Fein, provides the following definitions for
"Tzedakah" is variously translated as
"Righteousness" or "Doing the Right Thing." It also
means "Using one's own resources to bring fairness,
equity, and decency into the lives of others." Tzedakah
is the Jewish way of giving, i.e., giving out of a sense
of justice and doing the right thing.
"Tzedek" means "Justice;' and it is the motivating
force for tzedakah acts. A person performs an act of
tzedakah because he or she senses that there is some-
thing wrong in the world, and that person deter-
mines to set things right once again through an act
"Tzaddik" (masculine form) and "tzadeket"
(feminine) are variant forms of the same Hebrew root,
and they signify someone who personifies by his or
her actions and lifestyle the principles of tzedakah
and tzedek. "Tzaddik" and "Tzadeket" range in mean-
ing from "A Righteous Person" to "One who per-
sonifies generousity" to "One who does the right
thing" to "One who embodies the principles of
Justice" and, finally, to "A good person to the highest
"Mitzvahs" means "Doing good things?' In the
broadest traditional Jewish sense of the word, "Mitz-
vot" can • mean "Commandments from God" or
"Divine instructions on how to live a good life?' Mitz-
vot extend into every aspect of daily Jewish life; they
include the laws of keeping kosher, the Sabbath and
holidays, and many other acts. I use "mitzvah" in the
more restricted and colloquial sense of "A good act?'
Thus, a Mitzvah Hero is one who lives a life suffused
with good works, and who is admirable for all the good
things he or she does?'
The Jewish News congratulates the four mitzvah
heroes highlighted in this special section, those who
were nominated and those whose tzedakah and good
works are virtually unknown to others, but help to
improve the quality of life for. Jews and non-Jews in
the Detroit metropolitan area.
THE JEWISH NEWS
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Serving Detroit's Metropolitan
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78 • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1989