Today is my grandmother’s (of blessed memory) birthday. She would have been 91, but sadly, she died from cancer when she was 68. My grandma was a mensch. She was generous; she was kind; and she did what she could to be of service.
She volunteered many places, including her local hospice center (not realizing she would one day be a recipient of their services herself), and she often cooked meals for people who were sick or who just had a baby or who, for whatever reason, could use a home cooked meal. She was always quite busy, as if she couldn’t rest knowing that there might be someone who could use her help.
My grandma was a mensch; however, she wasn’t perfect. She could be salty or judgmental at times, just like anybody else. Being a mensch doesn’t mean being perfect, though. After all, the Torah is filled with stories of people who struggled and sometimes made bad decisions. Being a mensch means operating from your highest principles as much as possible, knowing that sometimes we will not do as well as we would have hoped.
A mensch draws you in and makes you feel valued. A mensch inspires you to be a better person yourself. A mensch leaves a trail of goodness that lingers long after.
We should each make it our personal mission to be a mensch—to be our best selves and to do whatever good we can in the short time we have. Being a mensch is a quieter path that doesn’t garner much attention or fanfare. But it’s the most noble path and one that creates not only peace for our world, but also personal happiness.
Something to think about:
You probably already are a mensch, but usually there’s room to step up the game. Look for ways to do this, and remember that how we do something is just as important (if not more) as what we do. Smile. Listen. Care.