Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


It’s just something you do, without thinking, without giving it a name. Then later, when someone praises you for it, you shrug. “I was just doing a mitzvah.” “Bar mitzvah” is commonly thought of as Jewish coming of age ceremony, celebrated when a boy turns thirteen. However, the deeper meaning behind the celebration is that the boy has reached maturity and is now ready to become a responsible member of the community, of society, expected to perform mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) when the occasion arises.
The word “mitzvah” is usually interpreted to mean an act of kindness, a good deed, but the literal translation from the Hebrew means commandment, as in commanded by God.
Clearly, this commandment to perform acts of kindness is not limited to the Jewish tradition. As part of any community, we are expected to behave in a socially acceptable manner, showing consideration and respect towards all its members.
As responsible members of our community, it is our obligation to be considerate. It is our responsibility to help all human beings, all members of society. Mitzvot include feeding the hungry, giving up your seat to the infirm, being vocal about an injustice.
In my case, I feel an obligation to raise awareness about the consequences and recovery from a brain injury. I do so to help other brain injury survivors and their caregivers through the rough and patches within the healing process. I want to increase understanding and empathy in order to reveal the person behind the injury to the world, to you.
I feel the need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
I’ve been through it, I’m able, and I’m available—it makes sense for me to avail myself as a resource.