The most elevated way to give
The Talmud reserves high praise for those who give to others. The highest praise, however, is reserved for those who give without recognition. According to Maimonides, giving anonymously is one of the most elevated ways to give – protecting individuals who receive tzedakah from any embarrassment and ensuring that there are no expectation of return.
But it can be difficult to resist from sharing good deeds when we do them. Even more so in the case of young people who are eager to demonstrate their values and to please the adults in their lives. Children naturally seek the approval of adults and are always excited when we recognise what they accomplish. In our modern society children seem to need to be appreciated and even rewarded more than ever before. Intrinsically motivated acts of anonymous tzedakah can be few and far between.
Imagine then, my surprise and complete delight when I received information recently about a group of students who had planned, organised, and completed a bake sale to raise money for a local Children’s Hospital. And the key word in that sentence is students’! They gave their time freely on a weekend when they could easily have been doing other activities, shopping, playing sports, watching tv, or playing video games. All activities with themselves as the centre of focus.
This was not a school mandated service activity, nor a parent requirement, or even just young students tagging along with older siblings. There was no significant fanfare, no orchestrated social media publication, no exaggerated celebration or great reward.
This was a simple act of kindness designed and executed by a group of young students without expectation of return. And therefore, a wonderful example of one of the most elevated ways to give.
To each of the students involved, thank you for such a powerful example for the rest of us (many of us adults!). Thank you for serving as our role models as well as representing the very best of our education community.