To Give or Not To Give?


A few weeks ago a woman knocked on our door asking for money. It was a rainy Sunday evening and we were relaxing. Both Ari and I know the importance of Tzedakah and helping others. Yes, I am guilty of being one of those people who will give change to people at the traffic light.

I know there are some people who would say, it's not a good idea to give money to people because it doesn't truly help them. I definitely agree, just giving someone money doesn't help them figure out how to solve problems on their own. That being said, occasionally, it is just what people need. There's the saying give a man a fish and you can feed him for one day, but teach a man to fish and he will be fed for life.

We did give money to the woman who came knocking on our door. She said that she had three kids and her husband recently passed away. Being that she was soaking wet, and had obviously, been knocking on other doors, we agreed to give her a bit of money. She mentioned that she was going to a fast food place to get something for herself and kids. We also gave her some bread a couple other things.

This same woman came back a couple days ago again asking for money. The fact that she came back meant that she knew we would give her something, which we did give her a few dollars. Then, she asked whether we had anything to drink. I said that I had a bottle that I could fill with tap water for her, she declined. Truthfully, I am not so comfortable with the fact that she came back. Does this mean she'll come back yet again? The answer is that she probably will come back. While it would be great to solve the initial problem of just giving her money, we'll probably need to ask in what other ways can we be helpful.

To give or not to give is a decision that each of us has to make for ourselves. As I mentioned already, I will give sometimes because I see it as a form of Tzedakah. I will give to organizations and individuals when I can. I know that I cannot take the place of the many organizations that are out there that help people in need. One such organization is Jewish Family Service (JFS). Despite the name, Jewish Family Service helps Jews and Non-Jews alike. Our decision to give or not can be coupled with mentioning an organization like JFS in order to make people aware of our options.

There is something to be said for giving. We are supposed to help others: the poor, widow, orphan. Giving to others creates a ripple effect where others also give. Remember giving doesn't have to be with money it can also be with your time. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill