Pizza And Cash For The Homeless
When I was around 12 or 13 about the age of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, I remember going with some of my friends to a movie and then we went out for lunch afterwards and got a lot, and I mean a lot of pizza. We got so much pizza that we were so stuffed we couldn’t finish what we had ordered. Each of us got a box of pizza to take home as leftovers. As we were walking home we passed a man who was sitting on the ground in very dirty clothes who did not smell very good. He was covered in dirt and he looked up at us and said: “can you guys spare some money?” I went into my pocket but before my hand could hit my wallet my good friend grabbed my shirt sleeve and pulled me close and whispered in my ear “don’t give him any money, my dad says he’s just gonna spend it on cigarettes, alcohol or drugs”. Many things went through my mind in a matter of seconds including what a teacher had told me when I was learning my bar mitzvah. He taught me that ours is not the place to judge. We should not assume that he is going to spend money on alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Perhaps he is saving up money for a bus ride somewhere, perhaps he is going to use the money for food – maybe not today but maybe for tomorrow because he doesn’t know by living on the streets whether people are going to help him out and give him food or money. Today it worked out for him thankfully because I led by giving him my box of leftover pizza and when my friends saw me so this, they also gave him their pizza for which he was extremely grateful. He began eating some right in front of us. I also gave him the couple dollars that were in my pocket in spite of what may friend advised me. When I teach my online bar and bat mitzvah students now, I teach them to be leaders in all aspects of their lives. One of which is leading their friends and being kind to people who are needy. Sharing your resources with the less fortunate and that can be money, that can be food and that can be time. The Jewish education that I provide online to my bar and bat mitzvah students is so much more than learning how to sing a Torah portion and be prepared. Of course that’s important and all of my students feel empowered and are incredibly prepared and confident. But I am also passionate about teaching my students to be on the lookout for opportunities each and every day to help those who need help. And if you see someone in distress on the streets and your instinct is to give them money and food, it’s OK to do that and don’t let your friends talk you out of it.