Giving Tzedakah

ב׳׳ה

 

 
 As Jews, we are taught to give Tzedakah, commonly translated “charity,” meaning money, before each Shabbat and holiday, as a way of expressing our gratitude for all that we have.   

This week, I was reading a book of Chassidic stories as told by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, tzt”l, Lamed Vav: a collection of the favorite stories, adapted and illustrated by Tzlotana Barbara Mildo (2005/5765).  In it, I ran across a story that inspired me, so I want to share it with all of you, with hope that it will touch your hearts too:

 
Let’s say we’re walking down the street, and a [person] comes up to us.  He’s dirty and ragged, maybe he even smells.  He says, “Oy, Oy — I’m so hungry. I’m … at the end. Could you give me a couple of dollars?”  Or maybe he doesn’t say anything, he just holds out his hand.

So what do we do? We take out our wallet, and — trying not to look at him — we give him some money.  Then, without a word, we walk away.  And we feel so good because we think we’ve just fulfilled the holy mitzvah of giving charity to the poor.

That’s all cute and sweet. But it’s not enough.  Because maybe, with the charity we have given him, the [man] can feed his body.  But have we given him anything to feed his soul?

There’s a teaching from the Holy R. Yitzhak Vorker: G-d didn’t take us to Mount Sinai and give us the Torah just to tell us to give a beggar some dollars or shekels.  Yes, it’s important to give him money.  But we have to do more than that.  We have to give him back his pride, his self-confidence.  We have to revive his soul.  

 
This Shabbat, and every day, may we remember to open not just our wallets, but also our hearts.
  Shabbat shalom, jen

Bridges

ב׳׳ה

There are many truths,
but none of them is Truth,
so the only answer is Love.
We must summon compassion
when we least think we can
and offer it to those
who think that we won’t.
For then bridges are built,
one person to another,
that will carry us all to Heaven.

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praying shabbat brings more shalom to us all, jen

Olam Ha’ba today

ב׳׳ה

 

 
 
Awareness of Your Love
–like the first morning light–
transforms the world around me.
From dark and isolation,
great fear and sinking unknown,
to a fullness where hope can abound.
It helps me stand up.
It lightens my load.
Makes dreams seem not so far away.
It gives me the courage
to pass on to others
the Love of Olam Ha’ba today.
 
 

Praying Shabbat brings shalom, and greater awareness of Gd’s Abiding Love, to us all, jen

A quote to contemplate on Shabbat… 

ב׳׳ה

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” —THOMAS MERTON 

Shabbat shalom to all, jen

Soul Dancing

ב׳׳ה

Soul Dancing
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Soul dancing up high where the skies are bright blue, beyond the grey clouds of injustice and gloom, in the joy of the Love, the revelation of Light, the Infinity where I wander when my soul takes flight.  I dance though I’m crying — I can’t tell you why; my soul sometimes weeps over pain that’s not mine.   I dance to the rhythm of Gd’s Eternal Tune.  I dance as if my partner’s the most stunning full moon.  I dance away worries, anxiety, and fear.  I dance ’til I’m sure that the Angels can hear the pounding of my heart, louder than any drum.   I dance ’til Gd tells me, “This soul dance is done.”  Then I wander back down to this time and place, wondering if others can see on my face that I snuck far away to where I am Free. Soul Dancing in Infinity, my Gd and me.

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praying Shabbat brings more shalom to us all, jen