My father is in the investment business. As far back as I can remember, our house was filled with copies of The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, although lately, the electronic version has replaced the paper thing.

On a recent visit to my parents in Israel, I spent hours with my father in a 'crash course in economics'. I learned about the workings of the stock market; heard an analysis of why people didn't see the financial crisis coming; and learned why, as terrible as this crisis is, it is not comparable to the Great Depression. But the thing that sticks with me the most is a simple thing that my father said: "These economic difficulties", he told me, "started on Wall Street, and will end up on Main Street."

Our job is to get to work setting the mess right again I returned home to Vladivostok, Russia, and I saw just how much Main Street, or, in my case, Okianski Prospekt – a long street with hundreds of massive apartment buildings – has been affected.

Russia has been hit even worse than other countries. The Russian stock market lost 75% of its value. The price of oil, a huge part of the Russian economy, has dropped from over $100 a barrel to $40. Adding to this difficulty, the middle class in Russia is almost non-existent. There is a large split between the upper and lower classes. The upper class has, of course, been hit terribly, and the lower class finds itself struggling to survive.

A woman in my community told me of a time during the Soviet era when she had almost nothing. She would wait on line for hours hoping to receive her ration of flour, or grains, or rice and beans. Then she carefully brought them home and placed them in separate containers in a cabinet in her kitchen, rationing them out. One day, her baby crawled over to the cabinet and emptied all the containers into one delightful mess, mixing all her grains and supplies- unobtainable again until who-knows-how-long afterwards.

Since she was faced with no other choice, I am sure that she sifted through the mess: separating the beans from the rice, sifting out the flour, until she had a workable situation once again.

I think this story holds a lesson within it. G‑d throws things at us, totally confusing and mixing up our order and plans for our lives, and our sense of security as well. And our job, I feel, after the initial overwhelming upset, is to set to work organizing and setting the mess right again.

So how are we to deal with an overwhelming financial crisis?

The Rebbe often told people that wealth is a test – a test because it is often harder to keep focused while comfortable. Somehow, our inner wiring is such that when faced with crises we find ourselves searching for G‑d, spirituality and meaning.

That test is the challenge of our generation But, he would tell people, that test is the challenge of our generation. Our job is to have wealth, lots of real, touch-with-your-hands-and-feel-it money and to turn that into a good thing – to use the money for G‑dliness.

When faced with any question, we are taught to look inside the Torah and see what it tells us. Torah, our Sages have taught us, is from the Hebrew word hora'ah, lesson. The Torah is, essentially, a guidebook and lesson for us, for all times and for every situation.

When the Torah teaches the law of tithing, it says 'aser tisaser' – "and you shall surely give a tenth of your earnings to charity". The commentaries explain that the double language of aser tisaser, which can be viewed as a strengthening of terms, hence the phrase "and you shall surely", has another meaning as well. Tiaser, "you shall tithe", comes from the same root as tisasher, "you shall be wealthy". The verse is also saying Aser, "tithe", and tisasher, "you will become wealthy".

In other words, when we give charity, G‑d gives us the ability to do so in abundance. Of this promise – that when you give charity, G‑d will repay you many times over - G‑d says: "ubichanuni na b'zot"- "test me in this". Try it, He is telling us, give some charity— and you will see that you will make the money back, and then some.

As counter-rational and unbelievable as this piece of advice is, going against every grain of logic in our minds, I have seen some really special people who actually follow this advice.

George Rohr, the amazing philanthropist, donates an enormous amount of money to Russia and the Chabad emissaries there so that they can continue their work. At the recent convention in New York, he announced that, financial crisis notwithstanding, his donations are not diminishing. He will continue to honor all his commitments. At a time when everyone is declaring that they cannot afford to donate to charity – after all charity is the first 'luxury' one does away with when faced with a crisis – that statement is just awesome, and very comforting.

In my own community, there is a man who decided that he will not only continue, but will increase his donations. He learned something the Rebbe wrote - that through pushing oneself totally beyond the limit, doing things that are way beyond your capability, whether in good deeds, mitzvot or in charity, one opens up new channels for G‑d's blessings to come gushing down.

He took this quite literally. He has been helping to sponsor celebrations in our synagogue, as he feels that through the shared joy of these celebrations we can really open our hearts to G‑d. He has now decided that he will pay for the entire meal after prayers. This, notwithstanding that his income today is 25% of what it was a year ago.

If anyone can deal with such a tough situation as the world is facing now, it is the Jewish people. Thousands of years of painful history have taught us how to be resilient in the face of crisis, and how to keep going, forever marching forward. The Jewish women in particular were seen throughout history as the force that powered the entire Jewish nation. In Egypt, focused and determined, their efforts eventually led to the redemption of the nation from a terrible exile.

May G‑d give us the strength to face this tough challenge, and to do what needs to be done. And through doing the right thing, may we reach a much better time- the time of all goodness and security.

Booble Goom, a large children's store here, put up billboards all over the city last month: "Happy New Year!" they read, "Without Crises!". I second that.