Years ago I hosted a memorable Shabbat dinner. One of my friends came in the door and asked for my (charity) tzedakah box/pushke to give (charity) tzedakah before we brought in Shabbat. What a beautiful mitzvah to do before Shabbat.
As Craig and I host the next Merkaz Shabbat, you may wonder, “What can I bring?” Please bring a canned good to be donated to the Interfaith Cooperative Ministries. http://www.icmaz.org. And please bring a check or cash to make a contribution for our extraordinary Congregation Merkaz Ha-Iyr. These contributions will greatly enhance our future Shabbats, (holidays) chagim and Jewish education programming. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
Michael Strassfeld is the author of From A Book of Life: “Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice”. Here, he teaches that Jews traditionally empty pockets before Shabbat begins to avoid carrying anything on Shabbat. Strassfeld suggests a modern interpretation of this tradition. Before bringing in Shabbat we give tzedakah and/or contribute to our Jewish (community) k’hila. This practice will open our hearts to others in need and will connect each of us to our (community) k’hila. Fulfilling this mitzvah is such a great way to let go of the week and welcome the additional (Shabbat soul) neshama yetayrah into our midsts.
(Blessings) Brachot, Rabbi Erica