In America while many may be disappointed with the political environment, or in Israel where some may not be happy with election results in a few weeks, in general, people should be happy to wake up healthy, feeling that it is a great day to celebrate life.
Between the U.S. and Israel, where the majority of the world’s Jewish populations live, there are so many needy people, and everyone should take time out of their busy lives to be thankful for what they have. A good way to be thankful is also one of the most beautiful things about Judaism; the commandment to give charity.
Even with the commandment to give, we have so many choices as where to give our money. Whether we choose to give to healthcare or to education, Kars 4 Kids, the largest automobile donation based charity or the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the largest American Jewish charity, offer so many tremendous services, it makes us proud to have such phenomenal organizations working hard to help people.
It makes us feel proud to have the ability to give, and to give through groups that make such an impact on people. So many great stories coming from these charities daily.
There are so many great reasons and commandments to give – some of them:
- “There are eight rungs in charity. The highest is when you help a man to help himself.” Maimonides (The lesson of teaching a man to catch a fish that we all learned as kids rings true)…
- “Blessed be he who considers the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the day of trouble.” Psalms/Tehillim 41:2 (There are those who believe that God returns more to those who give)
- “Wealth is fleeting, honor winged, but charity abides.” Mishle Yehoshua (So many great Jews who have attained wealth and give so much away.)
- “Charity is a magnet with more power to attract the divine influence than any other precept.” Shneor Zalman (Beautiful that Jews of so many stripes and influences give and give so generously. Witness the masses who visit Uman annually. If you have never seen the scene at Rabbi Nachman’s grave, watch some of the videos; it’s electric).
- “Charity demands the utmost care and diligence, for it may save a life.” Jacob B. Asher
- “Because of charity the world abides.” Rashi
- “Charity is a magnet with more power to attract the divine influence than any other precept.” Shneor Zalman
- “Charity lengthens one’s days and years.” Tana Deve Eliyahu Zuta
- “To him that is eager to give, the Lord provides the means.” Talmud, Bava Batra
- “Charity knows neither race nor creed.” Talmud, Gittin
- “Blessed be he who considers the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the day of trouble.”Psalms/Tehillim 41:2
- “To him who has the means and refuses the needy, the Holy One says: Bear in mind, fortune is a wheel!” Nachman
- “The intention is the foundation of the deed.” Moses Ibn Ezra.
There are so many great causes and issues, regardless of where one stands on the political, religious or ideological spectrum. The renowned JNF blue box seen in so many Jewish homes many years ago is still a fundamental fixture in Jewish homes worldwide – isn’t that special?
Don’t wait for the Rabbi’s holiday appeal; give to a great cause today. Make a proactive offer, or just get rid of that old jalopy in your garage by responding to the Kars 4 Kids Jingle or whatever charity next catches your fancy. Give, you’ll feel better for it!