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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Gift of Healing Part 5: The Obscure Yiddish Word I Got in a Dream Which Opens Up A New Dimension of the Gift of Healing

On Friday April 9 2021, I awoke in the morning from a sound night's sleep with a strange word in my head:


It took me a few minutes to Google this word and find out what it meant, but when I did, a whole new dimension of the Gift of Healing opened up to me:

A pushke (pronounced PUSH-kuh) is a little can or
container kept in the home. It's used for collecting money 
that the family will use to donate to charity or the poor. 

Historic Roots

In our church tradition, giving to the poor is considered an obligation, something we do every month. We fill out a form detailing how much of our donation is going to tithing and how much is going to fast offering, we write out a check, stuff  both in an envelope and hand it to a bishopric member. Not much behavior required; just tithing slip, pen, checkbook and envelope. Badda big, badda boom, obligation met.

Interestingly, simply paying one's fast offering is not necessarily a sign of charitable behavior. I've known plenty of people in my life who consistently paid their fast offerings, yet were well-known for not being very Christlike in their families nor professions. Their countenances usually were bereft of joy, happiness and love. 

In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous obligation; it's simply an act of justice and righteousness. This custom originates with the Hebrew Bible, the Torah. In a number of passages in the Torah, God commands the Jewish people to perform acts of tzedakah (pronounced tseh-DUH-kuh), the Hebrew word for "justice" or "righteous behavior." Below are two passages which outline ways in which one can fulfill this commandment:

"And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:9-10)

"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth." (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)

I'm convinced that both these passages served as inspirations for the great King Benjamin, who said,

"And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God." (Mosiah 4:16-18)

When you read these scriptures, can't you see that the Old Testament authors as well as King Benjamin were thinking a little deeper than our filling out a little slip of paper and handing it and the check to a church leader? They were after transformation! They were after righteousness! Neither of those two ends are accomplished by the stroke of a pen, but the stirrings of the heart.

(Interestingly enough, even modern-day Jews lament the demise of the pushke. As one rabbi stated, "To my enormous regret, the "pushke" has become somewhat obsolete. Not that Jewish people are not as generous as they once were. Philanthropy remains a hallmark of our community even where piety and traditional learning have waned. But the "pushke"? It is a relic, threatened not by frugality, but by inflation and technology. Alas, coins are not worth what they once were. "Pushkas," which must be distributed and collected, are not cost effective. It is more economical to give charity with a check, which, in turn, can be used for tax credits. The modern philanthropist is likely to charge his or her contribution to a credit card." (Rabbi Kenneth L. Cohen, "Tzedakah: The Demise Of The Pushka",

Whipping out the 'ol checkbook and paying fast offerings is great. But it requires no behavior, no Christian mindset whatsoever. That's why performing acts of tzedakah via a pushke, in addition to fast offerings, is much better.

The above passages guided the Jews and Nephites to treat those who were poor and/or without food with dignity and to ensure that their basic needs were met. In fact, I'd say these commandments directed these cultures to create a social welfare system based on individual and communal responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves. 

Implementing modern-day acts of tzedakah with a pushke

The pushke is important to the commandment of giving tzedakah because it allows Jews to give anonymously. 

The medieval Jewish scholar, Rambam, organized the acts of tzedakah by merit, considering anonymous giving more credible than acknowledged giving. Anonymous donation maintains a dignified relationship between those who are giving and those who are receiving aid. It is also important because it signifies a community effort to aid people who need it and may not be able to ask for it directly. The pushke serves as a means for each member of a household to contribute, both children and adults alike, fostering the importance of giving among all age groups.

One of the most convenient ways in which to give money to people in need is to keep a pushke in one's household. The small box or container can be for one specific charitable cause or can be for general collection." (Jennifer Noparstak, "Pushke,"

In some circles in Judaism, an organizational representative regularly comes to collect the contents of the pushke. That's not really the case with we LDS, because we're not in a habit of keeping a pushke in which we place our tzedakah.

So I invite you to implement something which King Benjamin and even our Lord were aware of, and likely encouraged, in their lifetimes: Start today to keep a pushke into which you will place your tzedakah.

Check out this picture. My friend, Jon, keeps this small plastic box in his car. Every time he gets change (in the store or under his couches), he puts it in this box. Every time he goes to the store, he gets and extra $5 in cash and puts it in the box. 

"I don't run into beggars at my home, so I keep it in my car with me. The Lord is always generous in giving me an opportunity to share what I've collected in my box," Jon said.

I asked Jon, "How do you know how much to give the beggar?"

"There's two things the Lord loves to communicate to us: What we need to do to be closer to Him and our Heavenly Parents, and how to serve others. In the latter case, as I'm approaching the beggar, He'll give me a number. That's how many dollars I'll give the beggar," Jon said.

Multi-generationally Transformed Together

Rabbi Cohen continues:

"The demise of the "pushke" is not a tragedy for philanthropy. But it is a tragedy for Jewish education. A child cannot help write a check. A three year old does not know what to do with a credit card. But a little fellow or a little lass can put coins in a box. In this way a child can be initiated into this great mitzvah (good deed). In this manner each boy and girl can learn, in a very real sense that charity begins at home."

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter was once asked: How do you take care of your spiritual needs? He responded, “By taking care of somebody else’s physical needs.”

And therein is a whole new, marvelous way.

Sometimes a person needs healing not by the touch of a hand or finger, but in other ways. Sometimes the beggar can be physically intact, but needs a meal. Sometimes a family isn't ailing, but is wondering how they'll pay for that month's power or water. When examined in a larger context, by distributing what you've gathered in your pushke, you can help alleviate suffering. You help to heal the world with acts of loving-kindness, benefiting both the giver and recipient.

As Rambam said, "We do perform an act of Tzedakah when we fulfill our duties towards our fellow men; these duties develop within us a virtuous character: e.g., when we heal the wound of the sufferer." (

Imagine...all of that above...from one simple word as I awoke one morning.

Praise Yeshua for the truths He generously reveals to us, the benefits of which have no end.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The LDS Perfect Day BookS are now ready for purchase!

The LDS Perfect Day BookS are now ready for purchase!

A little over nine years since its first article "Symphonies," LDS Perfect Day's 240+ blog posts have helped tens of thousands worldwide to elevate their relationship with the Savior of the world. As a result, they have cast aside the traditions of men, enabling them to better hear His voice, hearken to His words and enjoy a life far more transcendent than they ever imagined.

The new LDS Perfect Day Volumes 1 and 2 (found here) are compilations of these posts through the year 2020. They are intended to safeguard the blog's insights against a coming day when there will be no power and no internet. 

Each book is over 500 pages long and 8.5" x 11" in size, making them real bargains for the $20 price. Both books are exclusively sold on Amazon.

Additionally, you can now print all the posts not included in the book – that is, all the posts since January 1, 2021. Each of those blog posts now have a button at the top of the page which allows you to view and print a PDF of that post. All posts prior to 2021 are included in the books and will not be converted to PDF.

There are no plans to convert the books to other readable formats or into an audio book (many posts can be downloaded as MP4s via the podcasts link on the blog). The priority has only been to convert posts into a printed format impervious to disruptions in power grids.

The softcover books can be purchased here:

LDS Perfect Day Volume 1 (Contents: All LDS Perfect Day posts from Feb 5, 2012 through May 14, 2016)

LDS Perfect Day Volume 2 (Contents: All LDS Perfect Day posts from May 15, 2016 through December 20, 2020)

Praise be to Yeshua HaMashiach, my best friend, who (to date) turned 1 post into 240, no podcasts into 73, and no interaction into a thriving, sharing, testifying, dynamic, technicolor Facebook group of over 800 dedicated followers of our Lord and Savior.