Or, ‘What is a pushkan?’
Yesterday, I gave a little background from a discussion over the weekend at the North Georgia National Shabbat gathering. Tzefanyah led off the discussion with the statement, “If you do your part, God does His…”
Nearing the end of the discussion, Tzefanyah asked that a box on a chair off to the side be passed forward. Once he received it, he began relating a little of the history of the ‘pushkan,’ a Yiddish word meaning ‘box or can.’
While the history of a collection box for specific purposes can be traced all the way back into the repairs made on the first Temple, the charitable acts the idea is based on goes back even further to our father, Abraham. It was from this long history of collection for various charities in every synagogue that the idea developed for a ‘pushkan‘ in every home before the founding of modern Israel to help fund the effort.
And, that is where Tzefanyah was going.
At the Bney Yosef National Congress, back in May, there was discussion of the need for a National Fund supported by all of Bney Yosef for the benefit of all Bney Yosef. In our discussions, many needs, parallel to those experienced by the founders of modern Israel, were discussed. Since the Congress, I do know that some steps have been taken toward a National Fund being set up, however, the process is not yet complete.
Tzefanyah’s proposal for our doing our part as we wait on the Father to do His, is much like that of every Jewish home in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even before the First Zionist Congress, Jews in many parts of the world were saving and storing funds that were occasionally collected to help Jews that had already returned to the land. As Abba began opening the door to Eretz Yisrael, some of those funds were used for administrative costs and others were used to help Jews make aliyah.
Even before a National Fund is officially set up, we can each place a pushkan in our homes and begin to save toward the needs that are sure to come. If we do our part, He will do His!!
So, what are steps that many in the Body are taking?
- Learning and walking Torah!! (Deu. 30:1-6)
- National Shabbats (Intentional gathering and bridge building on large scales)
- Connecting with and supporting brother Judah in Israel
- Learning Hebrew and culture
- And now, Saving toward a National Fund… (A pushkan in every home!!)
Now, pardon me while I go hunt for a box!! Who will join me?