Growing up, my father often brought unusual guests to our Shabbat table. My sisters and I referred to one of these guests as “Mr. Mna Mna.” He would guzzle down my mother’s delicacies, spilling some on our pristine, white table cloth. When the piping hot chicken soup was served, he’d slurp making loud “mna, mna” noises—and thus our nickname.

I don’t remember my father hearing us call “Mr. Mna Mna” by this name; he wouldn’t have been pleased. But I do remember my father according him the greatest respect, sitting him at his side and kindly offering him food first. As a child, I wondered if my father hadn’t noticed the man’s strange behavior, but I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t smelled his foul body odor.

No matter, week after week, Mr. Mna Mna returned.

As I grew older, I became aware that Mr. Mna Mna was not unique to my family.

Look around and you will see Mr. and Mrs. Mna Mnas in Jewish communities the world over. They are invited for a nourishing meal, given fresh clothing, or just a listening ear—whatever kindness the hour calls for.

I have a friend with a big heart who lives in a small house. She is constantly rearranging her (willing!) children, moving them out of their bedrooms to provide room for the lonely souls that end up on her doorstep. Another friend, a successful business woman, clears her calendar once a week to visit lonely elders. She says she does it for herself, that it brings her joy. Another friend is training for a marathon to raise money for children with terminal illness, while another, a working mother, spends her Sundays at a center for special needs children.

None of them consider their actions special.

We often notice—and focus on—the faults in our communities. This is important because in order to improve, we cannot be blind to our faults. But it is also worthwhile to acknowledge all the good that is being done—all the hearts that are so big, all the kindness that abounds.

Ever ask individuals who have returned to their Jewish heritage what motivated them? Rather than deep philosophical and theological responses, I’ve often heard about simple to goodness deeds. Witnessing the love, care, and deep pockets of a Jewish community made them want to be a part of whatever religion and peoplehood was causing this.

Balak, the king of Moab, summoned the Jew-hating prophet, Balaam, to curse the people of Israel. Instead, he ended up extolling their virtues, among which he declared: “For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills…How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”

From the mouth of our enemy comes our greatest compliment.