Debbi lay sprawled on her bed, enjoying her book. The doorbell rang. She tried to ignore it. It rang again. Her brother and sister were both out, she realized, and her mother was buried in her work, probably. Sighing, she got up and climbed down the two flights of stairs to the door.

Standing in the porch when she opened it was a man with a ragged brown raincoat, ancient checked cap, and tired eyes. She recognized him — he was a Jewish beggar who often came to their house.

“Oh, no!” she thought as she stomped into her mother's office. Her mother looked up from her computer.

"It's that old man again at the door, Mummy. Do you have any money for him?" Her mother's face lit up. "Mr. Jacobs! How lovely! Here, take this to him, and offer him a drink — it's such a hot day."

Debbi looked at her mother in disbelief, but went to do as she was told. Mr. Jacobs was so grateful, she even felt a little less grumpy at being disturbed. She went back to her mother and asked curiously:

"Mummy, why are you always so happy when people like Mr. Jacobs come to us? They're such a pain — everyone says so!"

"Well," said her mother, "it's funny that you should ask this now, because it actually discusses this idea in this week's Torah portion. You know, I also used to think like you about this, but then I was reading the Torah, and it says how important it is to give to the poor with a happy face.

"And, not only that, the poor are actually doing us a favor by letting us give to them! Think of that — because of Mr. Jacobs, we both have have the possibility to do a good deed — the commandment of giving charity."

"But what if we ourselves were very poor and didn't have much money — would G‑d want us to give away the little we have?" asked Debbi.

"Even if we only have a little, we should give what we can, and G‑d will reward us. Even a person like Mr. Jacobs should give charity, at least a few pennies!"

"With a happy face!" added Debbi.