God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to be an Angel and do God’s Work on Earth

  • Review
By – November 7, 2011

Cre­ate. Bless. Rest. Call. Com­fort. Care. Repair. Wres­tle. Give. For­give. In the Torah, God does all these things. Since we are cre­at­ed in God’s image, we should do these things, too, for our­selves and for oth­ers, as often as human­ly pos­si­ble. In oth­er words: Be an angel. It’s this sim­ple but pro­found mes­sage that Rab­bi Wolf­son rein­forces in his inspir­ing and acces­si­ble lit­tle volume. 

Each chap­ter focus­es on one of the afore­men­tioned cat­e­gories of mitzvot. The rel­e­vant bib­li­cal pas­sages are cit­ed, fol­lowed by a brief inter­pre­ta­tion. Next are exam­ples of peo­ple who have car­ried out the par­tic­u­lar direc­tive in ways large or small, or a per­son­al anec­dote. It might involve some­one who launched a com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice project or fundrais­ing move­ment that grew to nation­al pro­por­tions. Or it could be the sim­ple act of giv­ing a dol­lar to a beg­gar on the street. When rel­e­vant, the author pro­vides a Web address, which makes it easy to get more infor­ma­tion, or bet­ter yet, to get involved. 

Each chap­ter ends with a God’s To-Do List” that sug­gests ten ways to put the Torah’s teach­ings into action. Some of Wolfson’s sug­ges­tions might seem obvi­ous or mun­dane. But it nev­er hurts to be remind­ed to ask some­one who looks unwell if there’s any­thing you can do to help. And it’s com­pelling to real­ize that very sim­ple, every­day occur­rences, like yield­ing to some­one try­ing to merge into traf­fic or for­giv­ing a debt, present oppor­tu­ni­ties to be an angel. The lists all end with a few blank lines invit­ing read­ers to add their own ideas. 

With its short chap­ters and inter­ac­tive com­po­nent, God’s To-Do List is a great book to read with your chil­dren. It will help you teach them that being an angel on earth is the short­est route to a spir­i­tu­al life brim­ming with extra­or­di­nary mean­ing and purpose.

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

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