Tzedakah is a mitzvah all the time, right? So why do we only give when we’re asked?

Many of us give tzedakah generously and often. Whenever the gabbai stretches out the pushka in shul – whenever a collector knocks on our door – whenever we get one of those heart-wrenching email appeals – we dutifully whip out our checkbooks.

But why do we always, always wait to be solicited? What if we were more proactive about our tzedakah? Like (as per last week’s email) our forefather Avraham was?

We humans are creatures of habit. And habit dictates that we take a reactive stance when it comes to problem-solving. After all, it isn’t always easy to solve a problem before it comes into existence.

But if we want to be proactive about tzedakah and chesed, if we want to become creators in these mitzvos, we need to work on breaking our habits a bit.

Changing a habit, especially a spiritually detrimental one, can feel impossible. Just like using a trickle of water to carve a rock seems impossible. Fortunately, we know from our great teacher Rabbi Akiva that drips of water absolutely can carve rock. How? Through millions of tiny, imperceptible impressions.

Drip. Make an out-of-the-blue phone call to a friend letting them know how much they mean to you. Drip. Send a supper over to a post-baby family whose official meal train ended the week before. Drip. Send a small donation somewhere without being solicited. Drip. Stop by a relative who could use a visit, just because.

Every small, conscious act of proactive chesed we do moves us closer to becoming true creators in chesed. Good-bye, habit. Spiri-preneurship has officially begun to take hold.

Rabbi Levi Lebovits is the Director of the Vaad Project, Yeshiva Toras Chaim of Denver.

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