Mazel and Tov: Mazel and Doing Good

The Shikker Dovid was always puzzled by the ubiquitous “mazel tov.” It is said to someone in order to acknowledge a happy or meaningful event, ie wedding, bar mitza, graduation etc. But what does “mazel” really mean and why tov-good” ?

The Talmud in tractate Shabbat on page 156 launches into a big discussion about “Mazel.” The Talmud acknowledges that based upon either days or birth or hours of birth someone has a certain “mazel.” Someone born on Tuesday like the Shikker Dovid is to have the mazel of wealth, however some other poor qualities.

The Talmud makes a big statement, despite your mazel or destiny, it can be changed by charity or charitable acts. The Shikker Dovid would like to therefore explain the “Tov’. The Tov in Mazel Tov is a recognition that there is fate in life and there is action in life. The Jew must accept Gd’s will (mazel), but work at improvement, charity, kindness in order to bring about “Tov” for himself and for others. In essence work with the inevitable to improve for himself and for others.

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