Is it wrong for us to ask for help?

July 3rd, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 8 comments

I heard your podcast recently regarding the United Nations and how damaging it is to give money to poor nations without them earning it.  My wife and I are currently in the adoption process, and started an online funding page.  The adoption is very costly, so we know we needed help.

However, after hearing the before mentioned podcast, was it wrong for us to ask for donations?  Should we focus on earning the money needed for the adoption, and not ask for donations or gifts from other people?

Vinny P. 

Dear Vinny,

How wonderful to hear that you and your wife want to open your hearts and home to a child. And thank you for listening to my (RDL) podcast.

There is a world of difference between individuals asking for and receiving help and government bodies distributing money gathered involuntarily from taxpayers.  The United Nations, in a way that would horrify its early supporters who placed such faith in the body, has become a gargantuan behemoth that today frequently provides money that enriches cruel despots rather than helping those for whom it is intended. It has also become a dung heap of corruption and high-living by its bureaucrats. 

If people choose, of their own volition, to help you and your wife, they will usually do so because they know, trust and like the two of you. They will want to join you and share in the opportunity to participate in this exciting and beautiful endeavor. If, through the incredible reach of the internet, people who do not know you find your page they will hopefully do due diligence and convince themselves that you are for real and that your home will be a blessing to some child. The point is that you are giving people an opportunity which they are free either to seize or ignore.

We would be remiss if we did not also encourage you to expand your financial resources in a way that will allow you to do more for the child who eventually joins your family. And perhaps counter-intuitively, for reasons that we explain in our resources, the presence of children in a home boosts the money-earning power of that home. It is people like you who use their wealth for good that we had in mind when creating resources like our Income Abundance Set.

May you continue to reach out to God’s other children,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

Thank you to Thought Tool reader Mike G. for sharing the following quote with us:

‘Money is congealed energy and releasing it releases life’s possibilities.’
                                                                                                                     Joseph Campbell

 

  

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8 comments

James says:

With the sage advice you have given him, may Vinny accomplish his praiseworthy goal of adopting another human being for nurturance and guidance above and beyond financial support. As usual, what life offers is seldom black and white, but in many shades of bewildering grey. Since donating generously to the campaign of a certain political candidate, I find that one’s name as a donor gets propagated as a ‘sugar daddy.’ Now I find I am mysteriously approached weekly and often DAILY by about fifteen other organizations I never heard of to further their cause financially. No good deed goes unpunished, but I miss the simplicity of my former life, and I am burdened by the specter of decision making that haunts me each day: What should I support? My money does not grow on trees! Perhaps Vinny must likewise steel himself against further solicitation. Many hungry organizations are out there, and some are worthy, some however may not be.

Susan Lapin says:

James, we are also inundated with fund-raising appeals. The internet has only added one more vehicle for approaching potential donors. Many are worthwhile causes; some are bogus scams. Still, we’d rather be on the side being solicited than needing to solicit others, though, of course, in our role as leaders in the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, we do ask others for support.

Wayne Benoit says:

That answer was perfect and especially on this Fourtn of July. It is an answer like

that our founders had in mind when they created this great country.

Susan Lapin says:

Wayne, when we were homeschooling we came across a lovely story from the early days of the United States where a fire had devastated an area in Washington D.C. Some politicians wanted to allot funds to help those suffering from loss. Instead, someone (I hope someone who reads this know what I’m talking about and can find a reference) spoke about donating from his own pocket and asking the other Congressmen to do the same, while explaining that this is not the correct use of federal funds.

Matthew says:

First off I want to thank you and Rabbi Daniel for the resources, Podcasts, books, CD packages, etc. They are very informative and as Christians they have really improved and expanded upon things my wife and I have read and were taught growing up. I recommend them to others regularly. Regarding the story you mentioned:

I recall reading about that story in the past too. Basically Congress wrote a bill to award a deceased military officer’s widow with money from the Treasury. It was contested, and the ‘backstory’ given by the representative was that in the past he had voted for public money be give to survivors of a fire in Georgetown. I found several sites mentioned a Col Davy Crockett, 19th or 20th Congress. But then I found a site analyzing that story and it had some truths but some not-truths and was published in a magazine or paper in the late 1800’s.

I did look into Congressional Records, found the page scan, and it appears it was a fire in Alexandria, not Georgetown, and $20,000 was used from the US Treasury to provide aid on Jan. 19, 1827. It was H.R. 383. Thus the ‘no’ votes did not prevail. That link to the record is here:

So it appears to be a noble story that is only partly true, but I am sure there were those who voted against it based on the theme of the story. Basically it is wrong to use public moneys for gifts and favors. Oh how far we have fallen from the early ideals, many these days have no problem being on the gravy train of others’ money.

May God bless and keep you and your family.

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Matthew. I was going to leave the links as you were answering my question but they brought up some ads on my computer and so I wasn’t comfortable sending people to the site. However, your comment gives enough info for anyone who wants to follow the story trail on his or her own. Thank you for all this info.

Lisa says:

Sounds like the famous proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child!’ originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture.

There is also “One knee does not bring up a child” in Sukuma and “One hand does not nurse a child” in Swahili.

Ancient African wisdom indeed!

Susan Lapin says:

Lisa, I’m not sure I understand the connection to the ATR, but the idea of belonging to more than a nuclear family is Biblical. The Bible speaks strongly about family, extended family, tribe, nation and humanity.

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