Monday Mitzvahs: Sharing Your Talents

Yippie!  I just read about National Non-Fiction Writing Month coming in November.

That excites me because I have been a little jealous of the fun and challenge that fiction writers get in National Novel Writing Month.  If you haven’t heard of it, basically, it is a challenge to write an entire novel in a month.  It would be a first draft, not a finished product obviously.  But it’s more than the writing, there are websites and contests and lots of fun.  Writing is mostly a solitary business.  Since most writers tend to be introverts, we don’t mind too much, but we also welcome a little socializing now and then.

Because National Non-Fiction Writing Month is new and has not yet created the buzz of NaNoWriMo, the organizers have asked people to share the news.  As I pondered about that, I thought I would like to help but it might seem odd to you since my blog is not about writing.  Still if I could find a way to do it, that would be a kindness for the organizers and fellow non-fiction writers.

That’s when it hit me.  Sharing is an act of kindness, a mitzvah!    This started my mind spinning about other ways I could use my writing as an act of kindness and about how talents in general could be used as mitzvahs.

Sharing our talents is a wonderful way to give acts of service.  This is most obvious if you are artistic and can arrange flowers or make something beautiful to share with someone.  For example, one day I received an unexpected package in the mail.  When I looked at the sender’s name, I smiled because it was from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Charice.   But it wasn’t my birthday, what could this be, I wondered.   I opened it quickly and found:

A Handmade Original by Charice
A Handmade Original by Charice

This made me happy for several reasons.

  •  It was completely unexpected
  •  I love elephants.  In Buddhism they are a sign of mental strength
  •  I love the colors
  •  Charice, a talented seamstress, made this herself
  • Oh, and I love the quilting stitches
  • I was touched that Charice was thinking of me
  • I know this took a lot of time to make

Thanks again Charice!  You are the best!

Another friend of mine, Josh, has a wonderful voice.  He has many talents, but lets focus on his voice.  Because I sing tenor (yes, I am a female tenor.  It’s a little awkward sometimes, but hey, I’ve been told I have a “sexy phone voice”–wink).  So I first heard Josh’s voice when we sang in the choir together.  Because I love his voice, once when I was going through a particularly bad time I asked him if he would sing in church for me.  He did.  That was a great mitzvah.  Thanks again Josh!  (Josh is also a writer.  You can read his humor blog HERE)

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Yeah, but I don’t have any of those kinds of talents, Leslie.”  I understand.  I felt that way for years.  I think we get into a rut of thinking that only “showy” talents like singing, dancing, sports, or playing an instrument matter.  But that is wrong!

There are other talents that are less visible, but just as valuable like being a good teacher, or good listener.  Or being a good organizer–you might not realize what a gift this is until you help someone like me that doesn’t have it!  Some people have real skill in working with children, or teens.  Others are a blessing to the elderly.

Talents can come in many packages, but one of my favorites is the talent of being a good friend.  I believe that being a friend is not something that comes naturally to most of us, but it is a talent we can all cultivate.

Whatever your talents may be, don’t keep them to yourself . . . share them with others, each time you do, it’s an act of kindness.

And to my fellow non-fiction writers, don’t forget National Non-Fiction Writer’s Month!

Monday Mitzvah’s were inspired by Linda Cohen’s book 1,000 Mitzvahs


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Leslie! It was a great mitzvah, and writing can actually change the world–a super mitzvah. I tell writers telling their story or producing a how-to book or one that inspires change can be a form of tikkun olam.

    Actually, National Nonfiction Writing Month, or the Write Nonfiction in November challenge, began in 2007! So it’s not that new. It’s just not as well known. So I do appreciate all the help I can get publicizing the event.

    I hope you’ll decide to write something in November…and author change in your own way.

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