The more I get real with new people that I meet, the more I hear about the variety of struggles that seem to hit us all at various times. It makes us realize how each of us are our own complex universes and each universe is affected by the other. It’s why spreading joy and light is such an important part of life, as each person has the ability to ignite the other person’s light and positive outlook, or God forbid, diminish it.

There are two acts that we actually complete for Hashem/God. Giving to the poor – God’s love for the poor is evidenced by their Beit Hamikdash/Holy Temple sacrifices being valued just as much, no matter how small they may be. So, you might ask why the poor are not taken care of in this world if Hashem loves them in this way. The reason is that it is our job to partner with Hashem and fulfill the mitzvah of making sure they are taken care of. It’s similar with the brit milah: one can ask, if it is a sign of our covenant with Hashem, then why would we not be born with it? The answer is because it’s our job to take a physical action & create the covenant, a partnership literally seen on the body, that we have taken part in and take personal action towards. And so to take this covenant to spread joy and light, it is important that one’s tzedaka/charity manifests in more ways than just money.

The power of tzedaka is that you literally give life to someone: they go from a lowly state of hopelessness and darkness to a state of feeling life & hope and light again. There is an adage, If you see that your livelihood is limited, then give tzedaka. It applies to lack in general– if you feel like you aren’t receiving, focus on giving, and that will open up the gates for receiving. Our work is to break our hesitancy toward bringing people in. Even if not seen by oneself as cruelty, it’s born of cruelty, and it’s something every person has to break through to get towards compassion. This is so even in the case of someone who is generous of heart and does give charity, as R’ Kenig says – “Everyone has a place where they say to themselves, ‘until here and no more’ – this point of “cruelty” is what each of us must exert ourselves to break.


Thanks for listening/reading.
Much love, Erez // @ErezSafar

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