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(Sadly) Another Tzedakah Shabbat

I’m in transit this afternoon, but didn’t want this to wait until after Shabbat.

In the portion we will read tomorrow morning, we find:

When any of you presents an offering of cattle to the Lord…

When a person presents an offering of meal to the Lord…

When you present an offering of meal baked in the oven,

If your offering is a meal offering on a griddle…

If his offering is a sacrifice of well-being…

…and it goes on. Offering after offering after offering.

In her book “Kids Are Worth It“, one of my favorite parenting educators, Barbara Coloroso says:

…so you offer your kids a choice: ‘Do you want to go to bed now in the green pajamas, or do you want to go to bed now in the red pajamas?’. Please note the part that is NOT a choice…

In the (admittedly dry) portion this week, Torah is giving us a similar option. The part that is NOT a choice is whether or not to present an offering.

I am making that point because we are yet again being given an opportunity to help in the world – as long as we understand which parts of the question are not a choice.

Do you want to help relief efforts in Japan by donating to the JNF, or by donating to Mazon, or by donating to Unicef, or by donating to the Red Cross…?

As I wrote about here, after the tragedy in New Orleans in 2005, and again here after the troubles in Haiti, in order to make a difference, you have to choose to do something.

Reports are still incomplete – we don’t know the extend of the damage. But we DO know there was damage, we do know there will undoubtedly be people who need help. We don’t need to wait for the final tally before we start acting.

On this Shabbat – a week after we all said “Chazak Chazak, v’nitchazek” (Be strong, Be Strong and we will be strengthened);
During this Shabbat when we are commanded to cease from work;
In the next 25 hours, let’s take time – as our Patriarch Jacob did:

  • First to plan
  • Next to prepare
  • and finally, to pray

…so that after the Havdallah candle is extinguished, we are ready to begin to the work of offering a helping hand.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)

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