YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 3

Posted on October 6, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Chairty, Chocolate Chip, Dairy, Desserts, Help, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Poverty, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


 

Tzedakkah is the last theme I will be talking about in relation to Yom Kippur.  Tzedakkah is a way to atonement.

Is there a difference between charity as most non-Jews see it and tzedakkah?  The Talmud tells us that charity is equal in importance to all the other mitzvoth (commandments of the Jewish law) combined. The Hebrew word “tzedakah” is commonly translated as “charity” or “tithe.” But this is misleading. “Charity” implies that your heart motivates you to go beyond the call of duty. “Tzedakah,” however, literally means “righteousness” — doing the right thing. A “tzaddik” is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether in the mood or not.[1]  Please go to this link to read the entire article that the citation comes from.  It is an incredible article about true tzedakkah.  Here is the link and it also appears in the footnote:  http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_charitytzedakah.htm

Giving Tzedakkah

The most famous formulation of laws concerning the relationship of donor to recipient is Maimonides’ Eight Degrees of Charity.[2]

From the lowest to the highest level they are to give

  1. but sadly,
  2. less than is fitting, but in good humor,
  3. only after having been asked,
  4. before being asked,
  5. so that the donor doesn’t know who the recipient is,
  6. so that the recipient doesn’t know who the donor is,
  7. so that neither knows the identity of the other, and
  8. in a manner so that the recipient becomes self-sufficient, thus avoiding the loss of self-respect that may result from receiving the lower degrees of charity.

Tzedakkah is more than giving money to the poor. Done properly, tzedakkah requires the donor share his or her compassion and empathy along with the money. In the writings of Maimonides, “whoever gives tzedakkah to the poor with a sour expression and in a surly manner, even if he gives a thousand gold pieces, loses his merit. One should instead give cheerfully and joyfully, and emphasize with him in his sorrow” (Just Tzedakah 1998).[3]

Does this look familar?

In many Jewish homes you will see a puskah (tzedakkah box) like this one or an updated modern bank time of puskah.  My parents had one in their house that Mom would put into the cupboard.  I don’t know why she put there, but probably because it was special to her and she wanted to always know where it was.  She would put coins into it every Shabbot (Sabbath) whenever she could spare the money.  And if there was a sickness in the family or a friend was sick, she’d say, “put money into the puskah,” as if the action itself was a prayer to G-d to heal that person.  If there was something one of us wanted very badly like to pass an exam, she would say, “put money into the puskah.”  When I got married, I got my own puskah.  Both my grandmothers had puskahs in their homes.  Now both my step-children have puskahs in their homes.  Theirs are beautifully hand-made large boxes that were made by my step-son-in-law’s cousin when my step-children’s mother passed away.  We always took our boxes to my Aunt Hushie’s house as she knew just where to take them.  The donations went to plant trees in Israel.  As I grew older, I discovered that these boxes were for the JNF (Jewish National Fund).  Here is an excerpt of how JNF began:

“It was the fourth day of the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1901. The delegates had spent the day debating a proposal for the establishment of a national fund to purchase land in Ottoman Empire-controlled Palestine, as had been suggested at the first Congress four years earlier by mathematics professor Zvi Hermann Schapira. Although Schapira had died in the summer of 1898, the idea of a fund had won a large following. Yet three congresses had passed without any practical decision being taken. At times it seemed that the dream of a Jewish state was destined to remain just that–only a dream.  But Theodor Herzl, a Viennese journalist, was unwavering–it was time to take action, and he was determined that before the Congress came to an end, a national fund would be established.

Herzl stood before the delegates and delivered a passionate plea for the immediate establishment of the fund: “After striving for so many years to set up the fund, we do not want to disperse again without having done anything.”  His speech turned the delegates around, the motion passed and the congress resolved that a fund to be called Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) (JNF-KKL) should be established, and that “the fund shall be the property of the Jewish people as a whole.” JNF’s first undertaking was the collection of £200,000.  One of the delegates immediately pledged £10 in memory of Zvi Hermann Schapira. Herzl made the second donation and his aide, the third. And with this, the dream of a national fund–to be used to build the foundations of a Jewish state–became a reality.

TURNING THE DREAM INTO REALITY

One month after the fund was established, Yona Krementzky was appointed to head JNF-KKL, headquartered in Jerusalem, and he set to work immediately.

Krementzky initiated the Golden Book, which records special moments in the lives of inscribers, or those they wish to honor, with paid inscriptions which to this day remain a coveted badge throughout the Jewish World.  These beautiful books are housed at JNF-KKL headquarters in Jerusalem for all to see. The very first inscription was that of Theodor Herzl.

Krementzky also began publishing JNF stamps, the proceeds of which went into the fund. These stamps were affixed to official Zionist documents as well as personal letters, and many people collected them. The first stamp was issued in 1902 and showed the Star of David and the name “Zion.”

Krementzky also adopted the suggestion of a small-town Galician bank clerk, Haim Kleinman, who had written to the Zionist movement’s newspaper Die Welt, proposing that a collection box be placed in every Jewish home so that contributions could be made to JNF at every opportunity. In the period between the two World Wars, about one million Blue Boxes could be found in Jewish homes throughout the world.”[4]  There is more to this story, so please check out the website.  The link is attached to footnote 4.

In conclusion, tzedakkah is monetary.  We are expressly obligated to provide for those less fortunate than we are.  So, fill up those tzedakkah boxes and donate anything you can whenever you can.  It is our obligation to cloth, feed, shelter and educate those that lack in one or more of these areas.  Volunteering is not tzedakkah, although it is a mitzvah.  So, we need to do both to the best of our abilities.

I am still looking for my niche in volunteering.  I am trying to find that niche and hopefully will find it before Yom Kippur.  I will keep you posted.  Now, for today’s coffee cake recipe.  Please note it does not have sour cream in it.

 

 

 

Chocolate Swirl Coffeecake

==========================

Serves/Makes: 8

Difficulty Level: 3

Ready In: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients:

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons margarine or butter, divided

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Mix together coconut, nuts, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of the butter or margarine; reserved. In another bowl mix the baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, the remaining butter or margarine, the egg and milk; beat vigorously 30 seconds.

Spread into prepared pan. Spoon melted chocolate over batter; lightly swirl batter several times for marbled effect. Sprinkle with reserved coconut mixture. Bake until light brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.


[1]http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_charitytzedakah.htm

[2] http://www.clickonjudaism.org/pages/what_is_tzedakah.html

[3] http://learningtogive.org/papers/paper66.html

[4] http://www.jnf.org/about-jnf/history/

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