Monday, May 23, 2016

The Psychology And Theology Of Giving

A relatively young man [younger than I], a Chabad shaliach in London, recently passed away tragically and suddenly leaving a wife and 8 orphans. Within days - over 200,000 dollars have been raised. מי כעמך ישראל!!

I know that if something would happen to me חס ושלום it would be a great boon to fundraising but I would rather stay alive and healthy. It seems from my research that it is hard to convince people to take part in the zchus of a mitzva unless there is some heart rending, tear jerking, soul shaking story. 

My personal approach is that some people just don't have even though they try hard and even though they don't die young or suffer from terrible illnesses. 

 I often think of the three boys who were kidnapped and killed a number of years ago. Imagine if there was a ransom put out to save them - 50 million bucks. It seems clear that the Jewish people would have come up with the money in a short number of hours [or even minutes]. A life is worth more than 50 million dollars. Yet, if one of these boys was not kidnapped, just his family couldn't afford rent or dental bills, it would have been difficult to raise 500 dollars. But rent and dental bills is also necessary in order to live?? Not the same as actually dying but certainly not a luxury. My point is that in Klal Yisrael there is enough to go around that everybody should be taken care of while the reality is that so many families suffer dire poverty.    

So sweet friends - this is not about me or my causes. חס ושלום. It is a general call for introspection. Chazal say "חייך קודמין" - you life comes before that of your friend. Life - yes, luxuries - no. This Pesach tens of millions of dollars were spent on luxuries while others lacked the basics. Try to extricate yourself from the attitude that so many have that they only give if the story is a tear jerker and they are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt if they don't give. People shouldn't give out of guilt but out of a sense of joy that Hashem has blessed them and they want to share that blessing with others - bi-ahava. That is the way Hashem wants it. The pasuk [and Rambam] emphasize that one must give with an open heart and feel good about it. It is not just about giving but HOW one gives. The money itself is not a problem for Hashem, he can come up with it without our help. What matters is that HEART and GOOD WILL. 

Bi-ahava and brachos you [ואני בתוככם] should always have so much to give and never need to take,
Me 