Teenager Tells us How to Find Righteousness in the World
Where can we find true righteousness in the world? Is it a number on our paychecks? A filled tzedakah box? A room filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the poor?
Today, the one of the most salient misconceptions in our faith is that righteousness has a given size. When someone donates his entire bank account to a cause or global project, he is considered righteous. If someone prepares at least two hundred meals for the hungry, only then he is viewed as a true tzadik in Jewish life. However, it is the actually the less obvious acts of kindness performed on earth that epitomize genuine righteousness.
According to Maimonides, an acclaimed Talmudist, the greatest form of giving is through an anonymous process. One should not need to know every detail about the recipient of his money, effort, or time. The primary reward for doing an act of kindness is the deed itself. By promoting a world of modesty, selflessness, and whole-hearted giving, we could all set the paragon for Jewish living.
In my opinion, money, regardless of its amount or value, does not override timeless philanthropy, or the love of mankind. We were not placed on this earth to achieve goodness, but rather to pursue it. That goodness could ensue from initializing a conversation with someone. Holding the door for a person behind you, regardless of his/her background, is an act of true righteousness. We are living in a new world where social philanthropy, or the love of mankind, takes precedence over financial donations. In fact, righteousness can be found within all who choose to spread goodness with others.