Contact Us

"Take Out a Dollar and Give Me the Rest"

"Take Out a Dollar and Give Me the Rest"


Rabbi Shimshon Stock of blessed memory was a Crown Heights, Brooklyn, resident who used to collect money for the organization he founded which supplied food and clothes to needy families in need in honor of Shabbat and holidays. He had many great one liners which he used to shout out in his unforgettable Brooklyn accent. This one takes the cake:

"Open ya wallet, take out a dollar and give me the rest…"

I once heard about a group of writers, editors and publishers who decided to publish a daily newspaper that would contain exclusively positive news. No scandals, no murders, no gossip, and no "bad guy goes at it; good guy vows revenge" newsbreaks.

They went ahead with the idea…

…They declared bankruptcy a few months later.

Not long ago, the two wealthiest people in the world committed to donate more than half their fortune to charitable causesSo, at the risk of ending my career, I would like to share with you a wonderful piece of news:

The world is becoming a very generous place.

You want proof? It was not long ago that the two wealthiest people in the world committed to donate more than half their fortune to charitable causes.

Not only that, but they are encouraging their Forbes 400 buddies to join the club of the giving. Amazing, isn't it? When you hear of fantastic amounts of money being donated the world over, you realize that humanity isn't that bad after all. The amounts of money being given away to charity are unprecedented in human history.

It's obvious that a paradigm shift is taking place in the heads (and pockets) of the wealthy. They have come to realize that the money in their pockets is on loan from G‑d, and the "creditors" are the poor and needy, the non-profits and Chabad Houses, and the millions of organizations tackling education, health, peace, assistance and what-have-you—who invest the money in the only foolproof venture: spreading goodness.

Yes I know about the terrorists, spy rings, nuclear threats, recessions, murders, kidnappings, corruptions… (Did I capture all of today's headlines?) But need we focus on the negative when there is an abundance of goodness happening all around us? Can we appreciate the revolution of goodness taking place before our eyes?

Can we appreciate the revolution of goodness taking place before our eyes?Why the sudden excitement about global charity, you ask. Well this week's Torah reading discusses (Deuteronomy 15:7-8) the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity):

If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities... Open, open your hand to him, and you shall [provide] him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking...

I am sure you can figure out where this article is heading… Yup, to the wallet.

This week and every week, let's open our hand to those less fortunate and to those wonderful organizations who will give you the best return on your money:

A better world.

Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Man From Neptune Lubbock August 28, 2016

Marvelous words The theme of charity is underemphasized in discussions of Parsha Re'eh, it seems. The particular notes on charity are powerful & lovely that we read this week.
I'm glad you decided to speak on this! May all of us non-billionaires be inspired to help those of us less fortunate than ourselves. Reply

Anonymous Balaclava, Australia August 1, 2010

Levi, you make my week. I really look forward to reading your articles. Keep it up.
May G-d give you all the strength you need to put meaning in man's heart and mind, and a smile on their face. Reply

Related Topics
This page in other languages