Tzedakah

Aliza - Los Gatos, California
Entered on May 28, 2008

Tzedakah

“I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes — until I met a man who had no feet.”

– Jewish Proverb

I believe in this Jewish Proverb. I believe that I am a very fortunate and lucky person. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. If I don’t have exactly what I need, I think to myself that life is unfair. But then I realize that there are people in this world who have so much less than me. Compared to them, even compared to most people, I am very much blessed. There are some people who don’t have a home. I have a home. There are some people who cannot afford medicine or a doctor. I can afford both of those things. There are some people who don’t have clean water or enough food. As for me, I have purified water, and maybe too much food.

This I Believe. I believe that everyone in the world deserves clothing, food and shelter. I believe that everyone should be able to live a long life and not have to worry whether their illness or disease will cut that short. I believe that everyone should be as lucky as me. I believe in taking every opportunity to lend a helping hand. Therefore, as a Jew, I believe in giving Tzedakah and doing Mitzvot. For me that doesn’t mean studying Torah or praying to God. In the Gemara, a passage called Shabbat 127a states that there are certain things that you will gain from and continue to gain from, such as doing deeds of loving kindness. I think this is telling me to do exactly that, and to me, all of the other deeds in this passage do not match up to doing deeds of loving kindness. There are a lot of other mitzvot that one can do, but to me, it trumps all other mitzvot.

According to GlobalIssues.org, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and an estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

All of these shocking statistics are what make me realize that I can and should do something about the horrible situations that other people are living in. As a Jew, the way I can help these situations are to give Tzedakah. I can raise awareness and give my time. I can donate my money to an organization such as the World Wildlife Fund or Mazon: the Jewish Response to Hunger. I want to be able to help those who are less fortunate than myself. I can raise awareness about how the children in West Africa do not have the proper education that they need. In several places in the Torah, we are told to leave the corners of our fields for the poverty stricken people.

I believe that you have to fight for what you believe in. If you just sit around waiting for it to happen, it’s not going to. You can’t always think that someone is going to do it for you. You have to make it happen with your own hard work. What I believe in is a world where people are able to get the support that they need. If I believe that, I need to work for it. Making a difference is what matters. Tzedakah and Mitzvot. If everyone in the world used at least 10 minutes of their day to help someone in need, it would mean that at least one person with a disease or one person with no food would be helped.

This I Believe. I Believe in making a difference by helping the world one minute at a time. Albert Einstein once said, “ It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” I agree wholeheartedly.