Giving is Justice in Action

A community is only as strong as the willingness of its members to help each other.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Giving charity is for everyone. Tzedakah, the Hebrew word for charity, actually correctly translates as justice. Whether one has a lot or a little, giving is an integral part of a Jewish life. Even the poor are required to give a little charity. Money, food, our time, out-grown clothes, older toys, all can be useful to others in need. A community is only as strong as the willingness of its members to help each other.

This week's Torah portion, Vayakhel, stresses that every member of the community must participate in contributing to the building of the Mishkan, or Tabernacle. All Jews are called upon to be 'generous of spirit' and donate to the Tabernacle construction. All can be generous of spirit even with a small contribution.

justiceWe should think of our money, time, and possessions as tools we can use, beyond our own needs, to benefit others. When we are willing to stand up and be counted for a charitable cause or for helping individuals in need, we become "generous of spirit" and display gratitude for what we have.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the importance of helping others and being a part of a strong community.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Why is charity important?

· How does the giver benefit from giving charity?

· How can small amounts make a big difference? (Think of a savings account after many years.)

· Is it necessary to be recognized by others when giving?

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Rabbi Moshe Becker is a co-founder of the Jewish Renaissance Experience, an innovative Jewish education and outreach program in Westchester County, NY. He has done advanced research in Jewish Law, philosophy and history at The Jerusalem Kollel and with the Hashkafa Circle and has lectured and written extensively on these topics.