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This brief address was given by NYU Professor Roy Germano at the Chabad On Campus weekend convention in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Want to...
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These days, most people seem lost. They rush from home to work, to school and so on, yet they don’t quite know where they’re going. Like ants building their colony, they are completely unaware of the world beyond.
Their happiness, their sadness, and their life choices are all dictated by their immediate surroundings. There is little awareness of what’s beyond, and this unfortunately does not lead to happiness. A person can live for 70, 80, 90 years in his little world and never fully experience the beauty of life and the blessings that God has in store for him.
This is why the concept of tzedakah (charity) is one of the foundations of Judaism. Because we are not all on the same spiritual and material level, those that have been blessed with more must see to the needs of those who have less.
By sharing what we have with others, we are capitalizing on the precious opportunities that God gave us to be His ambassadors in this world. This is why tzedakah is one of the highest mitzvot a person can do. There are many levels of tzedakah, from giving a loan to giving food. Even a smile is a form of tzedakah.
But what is the ultimate form of tzedakah?
It is giving a person life.
I’m referring to spiritual life as well as physical life. A person can be alive and feel dead inside because he has no meaning in his life, no sense of purpose, no connection to anything greater than himself and his immediate surroundings. But when his spiritual eyes begin to open,and his soul begins to shine, he is finally alive.
When he begins to have insight into his place in this world and a connection with his Creator, he is finally alive. His life is meaningful and fulfilling. Just as importantly, he is able to face challenges with a sense of calmness and faith.
This means that the ultimate form of tzedakah is enlightening others.
Through your sponsorship, you are personally furthering our efforts to improve people’s lives. Your money goes directly toward the costs in printing books and cd’s, traveling for speaking engagements, and all of our online activities, from live broadcasts to maintaining our websites. By partnering with us you are essentially fueling our efforts to get this vital information out to the world. You are our partner and receive equal share in every life we positively affect.