Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What is an oblique mitzvah?

An oblique mitzvah is a good work done, if you will, from a sideways glance. It's almost an inadvertent good deed. It's not quite intentional. An oblique mitzvah manages a moral act in the midst of an immoral situation; a situation I might add, that emanates from within. I think when we engage in oblique mitzvahs, we illustrate the goodness of God. The Creator's goodness is shown in a dirty, messy situation. The term came about when I picked up a call today at work and it turned out to be a telemarketer. Instead of hanging up, which is what I (and everyone else) normally do, I set the cordless phone on the counter and let the recorded voice continue its spiel. It's at that moment that I realized that by putting the phone aside without hanging up that I was keeping one phone line busy at that telemarketing company, and thus they were unable to make another call to someone else at that moment. The whole event lasted maybe a minute. It won't go down in the annals of human history as a transformative moment. It won't even go down in my own life's history as being a game changer. But, for one moment, I kept a company that's most likely a scam operation, from harassing someone else. That, my friends, is an oblique mitzvah.

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