Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Omer 2017 Day 43: Kindly Deeds

Day 43: Chesed in Malchut, Kindness in Leadership
Kindly Deeds Done for Free by The Simpsons' parody band, AD/BC

Kindly deeds
Done for free

Maimonides taught that there are 8 levels of tzedakah or charity:
8. When donations are given grudgingly.
7. When one gives less than one should, but does so cheerfully.
6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
4. Donations when the recipient is aware of the donor's identity, but the donor still doesn't know the specific identity of the recipient.
3. Donations when the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
2. Giving assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other. Communal funds, administered by responsible people are also in this category.
1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them to find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.

Giving on any level is a mitzvah, whether one gives grudgingly or less than one could, or one is in the position to provide steady employment or a small business start-up loan. The point is really to strive to do more, to give more, for those in need.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Omer 2017 Day 42: Put Your Hearts Up

Day 42: Malchut in Yesod, Leadership in Connection
Put Your Hearts Up by Ariana Grande

If we put our heads together
we can do anything

As I count day 42 tonight, I am watching news reports of the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. I can think of no better way to honor the victims of this terrible attack than to dedicate this day to Grande's music. This is a song from her earlier days, back in 2011. In the wake of this attack, may we all come together and become leaders against hate and violence.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Omer 2017 Day 41: Southern Comfort Zone

Day 41: Yesod in Yesod, Foundation in Connection
Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley

And I miss my Tennessee home
I can see the ways that I've grown
I can't see this world unless I go
Outside my Southern Comfort Zone...
...I have since become a drifter
And I just can't wait to pack
Cause I know the road I leave on
It will always bring me back

Home is comfortable because it's what we know and there is security in having a comfortable place to return to, but as Brad Paisley points out, it is also important to explore the unknown. It is through travel and exploration that we learn and grow and, while where you come from will inevitably affect the lens through which you view the world, getting out of our comfort zones can also give us a new understanding of ourselves and the places we call home.