Chol ha-mo’ed is the time of year when we start looking for activities that we haven’t done on previous chol ha-mo’eds, at least in the past several years, but preferably not at all. This year we were at a loss so a family friend recommended a scavenger hunt in New York City.
We had just completed one challenge (“To which store does the man without a shirt tell you to go?”) and we were waiting for our next one. The four of us were standing on the sidewalk crowded around my brother’s iPhone (Challenges were communicated via text message). I guess we looked somewhat lost because a man stopped and asked us just that.
“Are you lost?” he asked.
We explained that we were, in fact, not lost; we were waiting for a clue that would direct us to the next location in our scavenger hunt. He laughed (apparently he heard of the hunt before), and we made small talk for a few moments. It turned out that he was a delivery man so he knew the city well. When we looked lost, he thought he’d offer to help.
I’m not sure why small acts of kindness such as this one move me the way they do. Maybe it’s their simplicity, a because-you-can type of thing. Maybe it’s the selflessness of the people who perform them – I’m unlikely to ever run into this man again or be able to help him in any way. Maybe it’s because they prove that we don’t have to invest enormous sums of money or perform great acts of self sacrifice to touch people. Or maybe it’s because we so often underestimate the power of the small, simple actions, and because we do, we forgo opportunities to help people in small, simple, ways, and it’s just so refreshing when someone essentially says, “I know small things are important too.”