Giving Benefits Us

Yael Eckstein  |  April 19, 2023

Yael Eckstein delivers Passover food boxes to Holocaust survivors in Israel

Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
—Proverbs 28:27

Compassion is one of Judaism’s highest values and this caring concern and empathy for our fellow human beings is considered one of the three distinguishing marks of being Jewish. Enjoy these 11 devotions on this very important concept for Christians and Jews.

Several years ago, I heard a story in the local media about a couple from the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. Avi and Rikki Lehrer discovered that there were Sabbath-observant Jews visiting patients in the hospital near where they lived. Avi realized that these people had no place to go for the Sabbath meal, so he invited them to join the Lehrer family at their home.

From there, the couple increased their acts of kindness, hosting up to 40 strangers in their home every Sabbath, some of whom slept there as well. But they didn’t stop there. Riki and her children began visiting the hospital daily to deliver food and a warm smile to the patients of all faiths. They especially looked out for new mothers and helped get whatever they needed for their newborn babies.

Every Friday, Riki made pots of chicken soup, which she sent to the hospital in containers so that everyone could have a taste of the Sabbath. As one patient told Riki, “We need more people like you. If everyone was like you, things would be a whole lot better.” For Riki, the smile and glow on the faces of the people she helped was all the reward she needed and gave her the strength required to do it all again the next week.

Giving Benefits Us

In Proverbs we read, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Now you might be wondering how the Lehrers made this all possible? How can one family afford to give away so much? But as we see in our verse, God promises that when we use our money for kindness and compassion, we will never suffer as a result. Does this make sense? Spiritually, yes.

Of course, if one gave away everything they owned, they would certainly be lacking. But Jewish law forbids giving away more than 20 percent of our wealth unless one is so wealthy that their own lifestyle would not be affected by giving more.

What this means is that for the rest of us, giving regularly and generously only benefits us, materially and spiritually.

Your Turn:

When we give tzedakah, charity, we lose nothing, but gain eternal blessings. Think of this the next time you are asked to give. In God’s economy, the giver is the receiver of His benevolence just as much, if not more, than is the beneficiary.