One single good deed can tip the scales for the entire world: Rabbi Levi Greenberg

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On April 5 in the evening, Jews around the world started celebrating Passover, an eight-day festival commemorating the Israelites’ redemption from slavery 3,335 years ago.

The traditional Seder dinners pay tribute to the freedom achieved by one nation in the past. But the rest of the festival focuses on the realization of the era envisioned by the biblical prophets when all humanity will experience true peace, tranquility and freedom and what we can do to make it happen.

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, worked tirelessly to promote the idea that educating all children to recognize a higher power in their lives and their responsibility to impact the world with acts of goodness and kindness would make these biblical prophecies a reality. In recognition, Education and Sharing Day is observed annually on his birthday, four days before Passover (this year April 2) as a time to reflect on our personal responsibility to provide our young people with a moral education.

Recently I joined a delegation in Austin as Gov. Greg Abbott signed an Education and Sharing Day proclamation and placed some charity into a small yellow, boat-shaped “giving box” known as ARK (an abbreviation for Acts of Random Kindness). The ARK Giving Project is a global initiative inspired by the Rebbe’s call for all people to increase in acts of goodness and kindness. School children are provided “giving boxes” and encouraged to fill them with small amounts daily to be shared with the charity of their choice. Thanks to the El Paso Community Foundation, approximately 10,000 El Paso school children have already participated in the program to date.

“Such an education fosters unity among diverse peoples by encouraging acts of goodness and kindness,” reads the governor’s proclamation. “Which will, in due course cultivate good will on a global scale and draw humanity ever closer to the day of peace and serenity described by King David in the 122nd Psalm."

Rep. Joe Moody introduced a similar resolution in the Texas House of Representatives (HR623) and encouraged the members to use the ARK Giving Boxes placed on each of their desks in the chamber.

“We talk a lot about education and giving in this body, and we do our best to walk the walk in those areas as we consider legislation.” Rep. Moody said on the House floor. “We have no better example to follow than the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He emphasized the importance of charity as a habitual practice as has been put to me, turning random acts of kindness into routine acts of kindness. By giving, we not only provide assistance to others, but we also turn our minds and spirits towards service and build a practice of compassion and duty to our community.”

Sen. Cesar Blanco introduced the resolution (SR348) and El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser issued a similar proclamation as well. The El Paso County Commissioners Court’s proclamation includes language referencing the ARK Giving Project they launched for all county employees.

“In the spirit of leading by example, the Commissioners Court gifted employees a “giving box” to encourage the County family to donate a small amount of money daily, thereby nurturing the inherent goodness we all possess by making kindness routine in life.”

“What would have happened if the young man who did what he did on August 3rd had learned as a child about generosity, caring and giving?” County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said during the March 20 public meeting, reflecting on how learning of the Rebbe’s timeless lessons about routine charitable giving and the impact it can have on everyone, especially children, was a paradigm shift for him. “Perhaps things would have been very different. It’s not just about acts, it’s about a way of living.”

The 12th-century sage Maimonides declared that we must all view ourselves and the world on an equally balanced scale of good and bad. One single good deed can tip the scales for the entire world to usher in an era of eternal peace and tranquility.

Practically speaking, everyone can set aside a designated giving box in their homes and offices and start giving to charity daily, and may these actions be the ones to tip the scale in the right direction.

Rabbi Levi Greenberg is associate rabbi at Chabad Lubavitch of El Paso.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: What we can do to experience true peace, freedom: Rabbi Levi Greenberg