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How many times have you stood at the check out counter, short by 75 cents, yet reluctant to ask the next person in line if they can make up the difference? How many times have you stood behind that person in line and extended that bit of change before being asked?

Whether it be money or another “gift” to share, blessings are reciprocal. Both the receiver and the giver get a blessing in the bargain! Don’t believe me? Here’s what G-d taught me, in one week’s time, about blessings:

Exhibit A: Last week, I, shivering in my shoes, reached out to four renown authors, requesting that they peruse and provide feedback regarding my newest book manuscript. Miracle of miracles, two of them are now doing just that. To be sure, I am grateful for their “gift” of time and expertise, but whether or not they realize it, I have blessed them in return by requesting their help!

Exhibit B: It was my first time baking along with a You Tube teacher. It had been a jam-packed day, and when it came time to pull out the rolling pin and sifter, I realized I was left wanting! No time to shop! Even if I could, it’s the week before Christmas and the stores would be crowded. Was venturing out to buy two items a smart COVID-19 response? No way!

With just minutes to go before the You Tube video was to start, I sucked in my breath, blew out slowly, and texted three neighbors–none of whom were on more than “Hi” or “Bye” status. Seriously, I had no expectations they’d respond, especially not in the Speedy Gonzalez way I required. I hated that they’d think I was vulnerable.

To my surprise, two of the three neighbors I’d texted immediately shot me a reply. The first neighbor had the rolling pin and the sifter, the second only the sifter. I thanked them both and turned on You Tube.

The baker didn’t wind up using these tools to make his Israeli donuts, after all. I returned the items to the first neighbor with a note that said, “Thank you for coming to my aid. Not required after all.” I was surprised to receive a text that said, “Too bad! This rolling pin was handed down to me by my grandmother before she died. I don’t bake. It would have been the first time her rolling pin would be used to make Chanukah goodies.”

We made plans to have baking time one day when we can safely visit face-to-face. But I learned that, had I not been so cavalier about returning my neighbor’s gift, I might have blessed her in a way I would never have guessed!

Exhibit 3: It was the last night of Chanukah and I was two menorah candles shy–not a good sign when eight is the magic number! In sixty minutes, my husband and I were supposed to be lighting those candles on ZOOM, along with my adult kids and grandbaby!

I’d spent the last hour checking Target, Michael’s, and World Market for a last remaining box of candles, all to no avail. I sat in my car, the darkness of night descending, and wondered what to do? The last thing I wanted to do was return home to light my electric menorah. It just wouldn’t be the same.

I wracked my brain for an answer. The answer shot through my mind: Text a friend and ask them if they’ve got two extra candles. There was but one friend in my immediate area who might have a couple of candles to spare, but we were not bosom buddies. The two friends whom I saw more frequently lived twenty minutes away, and I’m not great driving at night. Still, I texted all three, hoping against hope that somebody would see my text and quickly respond.

My friend first to respond with a resounding “yes”–her response included several exclamation points–was the one who lived twenty minutes away. She even invited me to stop in and light candles with her and her husband. Just as I was about to reply, I received another text, this from my friend who lived seven minutes away! I thanked my first friend and sent a quick reply to my non-bosom friend. She was kind enough to run the two candles to my car, and I blessed her for her “gift” right then and there. She told me that I had blessed her for giving her the opportunity to give bestow this gift upon me. Will we, too, become bosom buddies? The odds are in our favor.

So next time you are the one in need of a favor, no need for remorse. Be gracious! You are blessing that person because you are allowing them to help you….