Thursday, December 20, 2018

No matter what you celebrate this time of year, most traditions can be based around some similar concepts: faith, love, family, hope, friends and charity. Christmas is 5 days away and Hanukkah ended just 10 days ago, it is officially the season of giving. When you are in a state of abundance, how do you give? When it comes to giving of yourself (money, time, acknowledgment, love), Judaism lists 8 degrees of giving that everyone should consider. When you give, what are you intentions? Is it for personal recognition? For political gain? Tax write-offs? Are your gifts given for you or for the receiver of the gift? For more mindfulness and understanding of the act, these 8 degrees of giving are listed in an order that is least to most preferable:

8. Giving "in sadness" (pity): This is also known as giving unwillingly. There is a need, but the giver is doing it begrudgingly.
7. Giving willingly, but not enough (giving far less than one can afford).
6. Giving sufficiently, though only after being asked.
5. Giving sufficiently before being asked.
4. Giving publicly – the receiver knows the giver, but the giver does not know the receiver.
3. Giving anonymously, but the giver knows the receiver.
2. Giving anonymously to an unknown recipient.
1. Giving an interest-free loan to someone in need. Forming a relationship to help someone become self-sufficient.

All giving is good. Maybe you don't have the money, but you have the time or maybe you have a particular cause that you want to succeed, this is the time of year to consider what you can do for the next 12 months to make a significant impact. There can be a great deal of recognition that comes into play on both sides of giving. Giving is a cycle – the gifts we give to others eventually come back to us. What are your gifts that you can share with the people who need it most?

Joel Yeast