24 days into the Omer and I’m gonna talk about tz’dakah again. I also wrote about it a couple of days ago.
The blog DovBear is written by a few diverse traditional Jews of a variety of subtly different, but generally progressive outlooks. The blog functions, for me, as a supremely sarcastic window into the frum world.
Today DovBear brings us “My insight of the day”. His insight is this:
“Charity” and “helping the poor” aren’t one and the same. The torah obligates us to help poor people, not to have our names, and the names of our grandparents put on as many plaques in as many shuls as possible. The idea is to improve the lives of other people, not to glorify our own names.
And because supporting the poor is a Torah value, someone who cares about Torah values might legitimately choose to support a political program that promises to help poor people.
I totally agree. I recall a conversation I had with my mother months ago, which I recalled today. Contributing to your synagogue, no matter what they tell you, is not tz’dakah, unless you’re contributing to a specific program targeted at the poor. Contributing to a local museum or to a local theater group or arts group, while a good thing to do that I totally support, is NOT tz’dakah. We are obligated to give to the poor, not to the arts.
And now for the Omer.