Theres something on my mind and Im hoping you can help me. I imagine Im not the only one in the same situation. I have a great job and have always given generously to charity causes. Because of the crushing economy, my income has dropped, so I plan to cut down on my donations. Do you think Im doing the right thing?
We admire your Jewish conscience which is lurking in this all too common scenario. It shows the economy may have affected your wallet, but not your attitude.
Let us tell you a story:
Manny arrived at the post office, shlepping a huge package ready to be shipped, and plunked it down on the counter. The clerk weighed the package, and told Manny, Sorry, but I cant ship it. The package is quite heavy and doesnt have enough stamps.
How can I get it shipped? asked Manny, full of worry.
Put more stamps on the package was the reply. How foolish, retorted Manny, if I put on more stamps, the package will be even heavier.
And the clerk explained, It may make the package heavier, but thats what it takes to get the package mailed.
Ken, the same holds true for giving. The Talmud tells us if we have difficulty with our livelihood, we should give more charity. This may put more weight on our situation, but it gets our blessings through.
And remember, wealth is not about how much we have, its how much we give.
I could use some old fashioned advice. My dear friend Margie just passed away at a young age, and I want to pay a shiva call to Margies family and pay my respects. I am not sure actually uneasy about what to do, or what to say when I get there. So far, I havent gone. I keep pushing it off.
Do you have any practical tips for me?
Miriam in Aurora
Firstly, were sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. May Margies soul be elevated.
Secondly, you are not alone. Many people are not sure what to do at a mourners house.
They are afraid of saying the wrong things and often avoid going for this very reason.
The following list should prove helpful:
Going and not saying anything is better than not going. Your presence alone is a great comfort to the family.
Just say, I dont know what to say, and let them direct the conversation.
Listening to the family talk about their loved one is usually what they need most.
You dont have to stay long. Shorter is better. Five or 10 minutes means a lot.
Avoid going during lunch or dinner time. Mourners need to eat, too.
Sending a donation to a charity of their choice is a noble gesture.
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