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.