In the Jewish tradition, mitzvah covers a variety of activities done by people who are animated by love, kindness, caring, and sharing. It seems to be much easier to tear things down and break them than it is to mend and restore them. Think how many movies you have seen where destruction rather than tikkun (repairing the world) is the message.

Linda Elovitz Marshall, author of Talia and the Rude Vegetables, has written this snappy children's book aimed at kids 3 - 8 years of age. The illustrations are by Christiane Engel.

Young Gabriel has put on his magician's hat and cape; he is ready to do great things but instead he creates a mess in the kitchen and causes his little sister to cry. His mom orders him to take a "time out" and think about doing mitzvahs around the house. So Gabriel creates a series of good deeds that surprise his mother and sister. Best of all, he comes to see that making things better helps one feel better as well.