The other day Ricki came to me with a request: she wanted to take water downstairs in a container for the poor hot birds. (It was a very warm day.) So I gave her a disposable bowl with water, and let her go downstairs. She placed it in the yard, and promptly returned with a big grin on her face.
Initially, I was thrilled by this request, as it showed both concern for others as well as imaginative thinking. Later I heard that Ricki had seen her father putting out water for the birds earlier that day, so, in essence, she was only copying others. My pleasure at her “brightness” diminished a bit.
But then I got to thinking. How often does she have a chance to do chesed (good deeds) for others? When she tries to help people, she is probably usually not accepted as a helper, but shoved over to the “receiver” line. Just because it wasn’t an original idea does not decrease the worth of the activity for HER. For the ability to give is something we all need.