To start of it is important to understand what a mitzvah is. The word mitzvah means "command." According to the Chabad website, mitzvah can also be related to the Aramaic word "tzavta" which means to attach or join. As stated on the Chabad website "Tzavta can mean companionship or personal attachment. In this sense, a mitzvah bundles up the person who is commanded and the Commander, creating a relationship and essential bond." In the simplest language a mitzvah is a good deed someone does and is commonly practiced in Judaism. The sole purpose of Judaism is on the bases of doing good deeds for your family, neighbors, and strangers.
Judaism is based on the ideas of sechar v'onesh which means "reward and punishment." In short, the overall message behind sechar v'onesh is that if you do good, you will be rewarded for your goodness, but if you do bad, well you guessed it, you will be punished. With this being said, if an individual does a bad deed, they pull themselves away from Hashem (G-d). Meaning, that a mitzvah is much more then just doing a good deed. A mitzvah brings you closer to Hashem (G-d).
Living in New York City, you realize how fast paced life is and how everyone is busy doing their own thing. That is where the importance of mitzvah comes in. A mitzvah does not have to be anything complex, instead it can be something as simple as telling your coworker their shoe lace is untied or giving up your seat in the train. If just for one minute we can unplug from our problems, job, and phone and do something good for a complete stranger -- then is not it all worth it?
During my sophomore year of college, my criminology professor would begin each Monday class with asking us what good deeds we did during the week. Answers would always vary from "Oh I held the train door for someone" to "I held the door opened for a girl behind me." These all are tiny good deeds, but what stood out to me was what the people doing the good deeds said after. They were all angry that about half of the people they were helping did not even say thank you or acknowledge their good deeds. The message behind is you need to do a mitzvah just because, without seeking out thanks for the person you are doing it for. It has to come from the bottom of your heart and it has to be a "just because" kind of thing.
The effects of doing a mitzvah include the benefit to the person you tried to help out and a feeling of goodness for yourself. But it is so much more than that. A mitzvah helps show us that their is goodness within everyone and the simple good deed of telling someone their bookbag is unzipped will allow that person to feel that their is someone in the world looking out for them other then their immediate family. By doing a mitzvah you allow a person to feel wanted and you will stimulate the person to pass on the good deed.
The beauty of doing mitzvah lays in the idea that mitzvah brings wonderful things to the world and to the person. Let's all try to do one mitzvah per day and see how it changes our outlook on life.
"The reward of a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself” (Avos 4:2).