Tzedakah During Tough Times

Friday, 24 December, 2010 - 11:14 am

It is no secret that economic times are very tough. Every family or individual is dealing with the downturn in their own way. For some it impacts their everyday standard of living. For others it is the extra luxuries that are taking a hit, and there are those for whom it is the long-term picture that concerns them. 

Organizations that rely on charitable contributions for support have felt the pinch as well, as many people are not maintaining their Tzedakah at the level that they previously did. This change in Tzedakah habits can also be broken down into corresponding categories to the three mentioned above.

My grandfather, Mr. Mordechai Rivkin, of blessed memory, was a very charitable person, even during times of his life when doing so was very difficult. He often shared with me, his philosophy on giving when times are tough. He explained it by way of an analogy. Imagine, he related, that one's financial situation is like a trip on a horse and wagon. When the horses are too tired or the wagon is sinking due to the burden it is carrying, one looks to lighten the load. Usually one seeks to cast off the least important things on the wagon. Similarly, when economic times are tough we lighten the load by "casting off" certain expenditures. However, he explained, "casting off" the expenditure of Tzedakah would be akin to lightening the load on the wagon by casting off one of the wheels. My grandfather felt that Tzedakah is essential to the giver's fanancial survival, as it is the vehicle through which to receive G-d's blessing for success.

I share this message from my grandfather not because Chabad is a non-profit organization facing a shortfall, though it is. But rather, because I feel that this is an inspiring lesson for all regardless of where the Tzedakah money is directed.

At the same time, we would welcome those who are looking to make tax deductible contributions before the end of 2010, to visit us at and become our partners in the valuable work of Chabad of Louisiana. 

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