Following a frightful string of calamities on the communal and national levels, Sam Gindi, a longtime congregant at Shaare Zion, came up with a plan. In the wake of the havoc and chaos from Hurricane Sandy; horrific news of young children passing away; an increasing number of adults out of work; and so many youngsters falling into addictions, Mr. Gindi searched for a response to this onslaught of anguish and suffering, with the firm belief that Hashem never sends us fear and worry in vain, but rather to arouse our renewed efforts to pursue perfection.

A Call to Charity

Drawing upon the proven three-pronged system of teshuvah (repentence), tefillah (prayer) and sedaka (charity), which has been the foundation of our nation’s response to crisis throughout the ages, Mr. Gindi decided to put a kuppa (charity box) on the night table, by his bedside, and insert a coin in the box before going to sleep each night (except, of course, on Shabbat and holidays). This nightly charitable practice, Mr. Gindi explains, holds incredible spiritual value and yields numerous benefits, including:

  • Hesed (kindness), which is one of the three “pillars” that support the world.
  • A form of repentance, as performing acts of kindness regularly on a consistent basis can be transformative.
  • Expressing our love for our fellow Jew. The whole Torah stands on this tenet of Judaism.
  • Helping develop our yirat Shamayim (fear Hashem), as we are reminded of Gd each time we donate charity, thereby increasing our awareness of His presence in our lives.
  • Demonstrating to ourselves, to our children and to Hashem that we are sensitive to the crises He has sent us, and we respond.
  • Protection – “Sedaka tatzil mimavet.”
  • Earning our share in the eternal world.

Sedaka is a double misva – it fulfills a biblical command issued by Gd, and is also a misva of loving our fellow man. It is no less important, according to Rabbi Avigdor Miller z.s.l., than putting on tefillin each day.

Of course, it’s no secret that we are already a very giving and charitable community. Our parents and grandparents set for us a beautiful example of charitable giving, to the point where the impulse to give is practically in our blood. Even so, Mr. Gindi suggests that it is still crucial to constantly reinforce our commitment to this precious and foundational misva, particularly in light of the crises and tribulations we face.

“Through sedaka,” he explains, “we show our sensitivity to the plight of those who endure suffering and misfortune. Through sedaka, we protect ourselves here on Earth while also building our share in the next world. We don’t take our monetary earnings with us when we pass on, but we do reap the benefits of the charity we give, for all eternity.”

The Genesis of a Sedaka Movement

Mr. Gindi has already been faithfully putting a coin in the kuppa before bed for a number of weeks now. He says it is a simple act that can easily be added to one’s nighttime routine, along with tooth brushing and reciting the nighttime Shema prayer, and it lends completeness to his day and brings him tremendous satisfaction. “This misva also affords us immeasurable protection while we sleep,” he adds, “and sets an excellent example for our children. It is a small measure we can take to show Hashem that we are listening to His warnings.”

Mr. Gindi recently decided to bring his practice to the next level, turning it into a communitywide initiative. He has begun promoting the concept among his own children, grandchildren, friends and fellow congregants, and has already received reports of instant success from numerous people. Additionally, he has spoken to many community rabbis, including Rabbi Sshlomo Diamond, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz, Rabbi Yisroel Brog, Rabbi Raymond Sultan, and Rabbi Yaakov Ben-Haim, among others, all of whom have offered their strong support and encouragement. And he is working with community organizations to produce sedaka boxes that can be widely distributed for free and placed on the night tables of every man, woman and child who wishes to participate in the initiative.

Mr. Gindi believes that just one coin a day can have a transformative impact not only on ourselves, but on the entire world. “We can make a meaningful impression in Heaven and on ourselves by taking this easy step,” he says.

He welcomes feedback from those who have participated, as well as any comments or questions about the new initiative. He can be reached at sjg339@gmail.com.