Tis the season of giving

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”Marcel Proust. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Cicero, Roman poet.Gratitude and giving also speak to the way we regard our possessions, how to hold them lightly and what is enough.

A story: A tourist visits the home of a priest in a remote village. He notices that the priest has only one bed, one table and one chair. He asks “Where is your furniture?” The priest responds, ” Where is yours?” The tourist surprised answers, “I’m only passing though.” The priest nods, “So am I.” Jungian psychoanalyst, Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This quality is echoed in the lines from: Passing Through by American poet Stanley Kunitz:

nothing is truly mine
except my name. I only
borrowed this dust.

Kalil Gibram’s words, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give….. give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.”

Within Judaism there are eight levels of charity. Rambam,  a Jewish sage, listed the different levels of tzedakah (charity) from the least to the most worthy:

8. giving grudgingly
7. giving less than we should, but done cheerfully
6. giving directly to the poor when asked
5. giving directly to the poor without being asked.
4. the receiver  knows the donor’s identity, but the donor does not know the recipient’s        identity
3. the donor is aware of who receives the gift, but the recipient is unaware of the source
2. the donor and recipient are unknown to each other
1. offering the gift to a person before they become impoverished (teaching someone to fish)

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