Monday, 6 October 2008

A Healthy Appetite - Just How Much Should We Give to Charity?!


Our sages teach us that during the Ten Days of Repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur we should increase in three things. These things nullify any evil decrees that may exist against us (G-d forbid) that could interfere with a favourable and positive judgment - especially when this judgment is suspended until Yom Kippur itself.

These three things are: Teshuva, Tefilla and Tzedakah - or in English – Repentance, Prayer and Charity. In fact, the literal translation of these words is “Return to G-d”, “Connection to G-d” and “Doing what is right!” The three words used to describe the common translation of these words would be – Charata (regret), Bakasha (request) and Chesed (kindness.) Our duty, not only during these ten days, but throughout the year hinges on us implementing these three concepts into practicality. 

It is doubtful that any one of these is more important than the others, or that one need to fulfil them in the order they are mentioned. In fact, one should be working on all three together – imagining them to be said in one breath as one word (something which only G-d Himself can do.)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe always thought, spoke and acted only in realms of infinity. There are no such things as boundaries and borders when it comes to acts of goodness and kindness. G-d is infinite, and therefore our behaviour has to also be in accordance with infinity. While most of us may feel that the few dollars we give for charity purposes may exempt us from our obligations (even of doing “what is right”) the Rebbe in the clip below clearly points out how big appetites (of those in need and who do even more good with them) can be healthy and that they needn’t be satisfied. On the contrary, to those with big appetites, we need to give more – and those with such appetites never need to feel they are burdening others, especially when it comes to these people making use of their appetites for the good.

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