It’s that time of year again.
The telephone rings non-stop (well here in Jerusalem it certainly does) with telemarketers working for chesed organizations.
It’s Ellul and one part of me knows that they’re preying (pun intended ) on our consciences as we head towards Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
We say at the end of the moving ‘Unetane Tokef’ prayer on the Yomim Noraim that Repentence, Prayer and Charity can avert the evil decree.
Zedakah ( wrongly) translated as giving charity is one of those three ways and who wouldn’t want, for a small price, to change any bad decree that might be written against us.
But the truth is that ‘zedakah’ comes from the root ‘zedek’ meaning justice. Giving zedaka is not something we do if we’re in a good mood and if we have some spare cash because it’s a nice idea – it’s our duty.
We are all supposed to give 10% of our net income to people in need or to organizations who help them.
But how many of us are too busy planning our 3 day menus to bother giving a thought to those whose menu will depend entirely on what arrives on their doorstep. They depend on the volunteers who, with tireless work and good hearts distribute food packages week in, week out to thousands of families whose income puts them way ,way below the poverty line. And the number of those families is unfortunately growing.
Not for them the luxury of planning a meal from a cookery book. They will happily cook and eat whatever is given to them and be very grateful to put food on the table.
Very few of us can give to everyone who calls on the telephone or sends a request, especially when they all seem to arrive in the same month. But remember it is better to give a smaller amount to many than a larger amount to a few.And maybe next month you’ll be able to give a bit to those you had to say no to this month.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.
May you be written in the book of Life , Prosperity and Health.
And may you always be amongst those who can afford to give to others and not be in need of help.