Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Tzadakah Lady

"Tzadakah" means "charity," and the giving of Tzdakah goes on all day every day here in Jerusalem. It's part of a routine daily life to carry coins to give whenever asked, no questions asked. The proper way to give is never less than half a shekel to ANYONE who asks for Tzdakah. This is a picture of me and my "Tzdakah Lady," who stations herself on King George Street outside the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. With such a prime location surrounded by tourists staying at the Prima Kings and Sheraton Hotels, you'd think she'd be in pretty good shape, but surprisingly, whenever I check in with her she really isn't quite making ends meet. She has a dozen children and scores of grandchildren to provide for, so her Employer (that would be HaShem, Master of the Universe) makes sure all the wealthy tourists have the opportunity to share their substance with her. She speaks NO English and my Hebrew is, well ... a work in progress. But we love each other and whenever I see her I give her a hug as well as coinage. She recites long prayers over me and I have no idea what she is saying but I know it comes from love and I feel her blessings quite palpably when she bestows them. She can't possibly be younger than 80 years old and is a teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy little woman - not even nearly near five feet tall, if she could stand up - which she can't - but what a radiant soul. Tzdakah Lady gives ME much more than I give to her with her smile and her light.

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