On Tuesday, November 28, Americans will observe “Giving Tuesday.”
This special day that has a Jewish connection is for those who have become weary of the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is a post-Thanksgiving response for people who want to recapture the true spirit of the holiday season – the spirit of helping people in need.
Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association in New York City and the United Nations Foundation. The idea was to set aside a special day of giving, when companies and generous-spirited individuals could make donations to help their favorite charities.
For individuals in the Jewish and Christian communities, there is a wonderful secret behind Giving Tuesday that provides those who participate in this outreach with a double blessing!
A Good Day
The concept behind the “double blessing” originates from the Jewish teaching that, among the seven days of the week, Tuesday is a special, “twice blessed” day. This is drawn from the Bible: in the account of creation, the phrase “and God saw that it was good” is recorded not once, as with the other six days, but twice on the third day, or Tuesday (Genesis 1:10, 12).
On this twice-blessed day of creation, God separated the waters into the seas and, in turn, brought about dry land. He then filled the dry land with vegetation. So Jewish teaching says the double “good” of Tuesday means it is “good to heaven and good to creation,” implying that it is both good spiritually and good physically; that is, good for God and good for Earth’s inhabitants.
Day of Care
For Jewish donors, the teaching of performing a mitzvah (in Hebrew, good deed) takes on an even greater significance on Giving Tuesday. As a spiritual response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday invites people to reflect and see how they can help others who are in need during a time when most people focus on their own wants and needs.
And coupled with the teaching of Tuesday as a “double-blessed day” in Jewish tradition, one’s Giving Tuesday donation will be “good for heaven” as a blessing to God, and “good for creation” as it helps the neediest of His people – a work that strongly aligns with Jewish values every day of the year.
Although the twice-over blessing of Tuesday is significant in the Jewish community, Christianity also holds a strong ethical commitment to charitable giving. This is seen in the example Jesus set for his followers when he said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
In quoting these words from Jesus, the apostle Paul said the reason for giving was to “help the weak.” So Christians have an equal opportunity to enjoy a special blessing while also helping God’s neediest people through a heartfelt donation on Giving Tuesday.
To experience a double blessing on Giving Tuesday for oneself while making a meaningful contribution, check out what the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews at ifcj.org is doing to help needy Jewish people around the world.
This organization, founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein in 1983, has bridged a 2,000-year-old history of division of between Jews and Christians, bringing millions of people from these two faith communities together in a strong partnership, as well as supporting life-changing projects in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and dozens of other countries in distress around the world.
The Fellowship helps endangered and needy Jewish immigrants return to Israel, cares for hundreds of thousands of deeply impoverished Jews, including Holocaust survivors, and provides solidarity, security, and humanitarian support for the state of Israel and her people in need.