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I've noticed these new food pantries on lawns. Boxes on poles, for people who need food. I have thoughts.
The food pantries are a great idea. Tzedaka is beautiful. Town food pantries have worked for years, but they were never on the lawn. On the front lawn is a perfect spot for people to pick up food on their way back from the grocery store. You forget some stuff and you check to see if your neighbor picked up an extra orange juice by accident. Beautiful.
Now, we deal with the issues, so we can better these pantries. Let me express this in rant form, so the truly feel my frustration and longing to help the poor.
What We Give Them is Wrong
It was a can of peas and carrots. Who likes peas and carrots? That's a good question my Talmid. Nobody. Nobody likes peas and carrots.
No hearts of palm. No pineapples. Poor people like cut-up pineapples. Everybody loves the juice. Nobody is drinking carrot and pea juice.
One pantry I passed had salt. Nothing but salt and paprika. Just spices and condiments. Not even a Proto streak. No rice. No microwave to heat up the peas and carrots. Just salt and paprika.
It was a Chutzpa. It was the winter and the sidewalk in front of their house was slippery. They were hoping the poor people would salt it. That's why they had Kosher salt in the pantry, with the extra-large granules.
I Didn't Know What It Was
I thought I was going to get a book. I saw the food pantry case on the lawn. I thought I was going to find Dr. Seuss. I wanted Green Eggs and Ham. Kosher ham. Instead, I end up reading ingredients of Green Peas and Carrots.
Give Real Food
I thought they would have a roast. I thought, at least microwave on the lawn for the hungry to cook a hot meal. I thought there might be a checkered cloth. You open the pantry and your family can have a picnic on a neighbor's lawn. Nope. No Protos. Spam? No. Just a can to feed the children.
It's a Setup
And it's not fair to these poor people. You put it on your front lawn. They think they're supposed to take some food, and the next thing they know, they're arraigned for trespassing. Disgusting. Not a Mitzvah. First you bait them and then you pop out of your home with a shotgun, yelling at the poor family, 'Put down the peas and carrots. That's our lawn. Get away from our storage pantry. We didn't have room in the kitchen to store the salt.'
And they didn't even have a can opener to fight back. It's all wrong.
This isn't Charity
If they don't get shot, the poor people are stuck bringing a can home for dinner, spending the rest of the day separating out peas. It's a task. No book to read. Just carrots and peas. And salt, to parch their throats. Malnourished with parched throats. Stuck with paprika and nothing to spice.
Sorry. I get very mad about paprika. And no can opener?! Put a can opener in there.
Homeless People Need Meals Not a Can
One person told me it's for snacks. Snacks? Are homeless people running around with a shopping cart full of bedding, coats and can openers, so they can get a little pick me up before dinner? And why is there no table?! Is the plan for homeless people to take the can home?
Ways to Practice Charity
If we're truly trying to feed the poor, we should have fridges and ovens on the front lawns. Front lawn kitchens. If I saw a fridge, at least I wouldn't expect to see Dr. Seuss. I would be a happier man. And I wouldn't be let down with poorly written paragraphs about sodium percentage dietary guidelines for daily intake.
The greatest way to help somebody according to our rabbis is teach them how to fish. Not to give them the fish. Which is why many people don't give Tzedaka but Mussar. They rebuke them and tell them to get a job, and you feel like you've done the Mitzvah of giving charity. You tell them to get a job, and then you give them a fishing rod, so they have something to do during their leisure time.
Self-sufficiency is the greatest form of Tzedaka. If we really wanted to help, we would have front lawn cooking lessons. We would have can opening seminars. If we truly wanted to help poor people, we'd teach them to build a food pantry. This way, they could have the food pantry where they live, and they wouldn't get shot for taking a can of peas and carrots.
All of those truly feeding those who are in need have my greatest respect. Keep it up. Even if it's a can.
Next time, we shall delve into the issue of soup kitchens, and how poor people are starving because we're feeding them soup.
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They wanted to clean the silver on the Torah. Instead, they Polished it.
You get it? People from Poland are Polish. They should‘ve polished the silver. Nobody knows what it means. Maybe put a Polish person on it. If you're Polish, we do not mean to offend you. At the Kibbitzer, we are sure that many Polish know how to polish very well.
The Jerusalem Shofar carrying bag and water bottle. Perfect for when you need to blow the Shofar on a Tiyul. (saying something about a Shofar on a hike was where our creativity on this joke came to a halt)