Sharing Your Blessings
The people of Israel are about to step across the border of the Promised Land, a land of abundance, full of fruits and crops. In this portion, the children of Israel are told that they must put all their first fruits in a teneh (basket), and bring it to the Temple. They are also told in this portion that they must set aside 10 percent of all their crops for the stranger, the orphan and the widow.
Have you ever opened your lunch box and found an entire package of cookies? Probably not. But if you did, you would likely share half the package with your friends. When you feel blessed with great abundance, it is easy to give part of it away. Here is a good practice: When you wake up, think of all the wonderful things in your life -- your parents, your comfy bed, your bike, your freezer full of ice cream -- then put a dime in your tzedakah box.
The Temple of New York City
Two years ago this week, the World Trade Center fell. In a way, it was like our Temple in Jerusalem -- a place that people would come and visit from far away; buildings that were the crowning glory of New York. And, like our Temple, it was destroyed because of hatred.
"Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to Sept. 11," compiled by Shelley Harwayne (Heinemann, 2002) is an inspiring book that brings together letters, poems and artwork by children from New York City and across the country. Read it, remember and think ahead to a time of peace. If you want more info on the World Trade Center, the Sept. 11 attacks and other related subjects, go to: www.infoplease.com/spot/wtc1.html.