Shaliach Mitzvah Gelt
An ancient Jewish tradition, Shaliach Mitzvah, claims that god will protect a person on a mission until she returns with evidence of the mission’s completion. Such as a receipt for a donation. I’m raising money to give to worthy folks I meet on my next trip to Palestine-Israel. I’ll donate your money, ask for a receipt, and hope to be protected until I give you that receipt as evidence that I’ve completed my mission as a conduit for your generosity.
My good friend and colleague in the struggle, the Jewish activist and educator, Marty Federman, taught me that a shaliach is an agent or representative. He explained:
[And] “mitzvah” is…commonly used to mean a good deed as in “helping the poor is a real mitzvah” but the word actually means a commandment [normally something commanded in the Torah] as in “observing the Sabbath is a primemitzvah.” One who is a “shaliach mitzvah” is considered to be either “an agent of a good deed” or, more relevant for the situation you’re in, “an agent of fulfilling a commandment” [in this case the mitzvah/commandment is providing for the poor/needy.] This has become, as is often the case, a popular tradition done by people who don’t fully connect it to any specific Jewish text or ruling but it actually has roots in a couple of verses from the Talmud:
“A mitzvah protects and rescues one while s/he is engaged in it.” [Sotah 21a]
“Agents of a mitzvah will not be harmed.” [Pesachim 8a]
If you’re interested in joining me on this mission you can contribute directly thru PayPal (marked “for Shaliach Mitzvah”) on my website, or by check (9 Sacramento St, Cambridge MA 02138).
I’ll be in the Mideast from March 17 until June 11, 2013 working with the American Friends Service Committee, Friends of the Earth Middle East, Palestine News Network, and the Jenin Freedom Theater, among other organizations. I’ll make photos and teach photography. You can stay tuned to my dispatches at my website and this blog.
Thanks for your concern and possible largesse.
Moamen Qreiqea, Gaza, Palestine, 2010
“United by Loss, Israeli & Palestinian Dads Call for a Joint Nonviolent Intifada Against Occupation” (Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan, Feb 26, 2013)