This Year marks my son’s third Thanksgiving and third Chanukah. It is also the first time the holidays have coincided since 1861. The fact that both festivals are celebrations of appreciation, for our country and the miracle of lights respectively, makes it almost impossible not to reflect on the importance of giving and of instilling the spirit of tzedakah in my son.
Though he may be too young to comprehend the concept of tzedakah, he does seem to grasp the idea of giving. While snacking on Cheerios, he graciously offers handfuls of his favorite
cereal. With lightning speed, his saliva-covered paws will shove the moist little oats into the unsuspecting mouths of his mommy or daddy, and he’ll smile with pride once his gifts have been received.
Sweetly, he offers me the morning paper, blows on my coffee to cool it down or kisses my boo-boo.
He also finds great fulfillment in providing his posse of stuffed teddies and puppies with generous swigs of milk from his sippy cup.
Recently, his toy truck has also taken a liking to milk, while his stuffed Elmo has become a big fan of pretzels.
My son’s generosity extends to his medication as well. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than watching his daddy pretend to consume the last drops of Infants’ Advil from the measuring spoon.
In class, he shares his passion for all things four-wheeled. Sometimes he’ll offer a toy vehicle to a perplexed female classmate who, much to his dismay, ignores his gift. When a classmate snatches a toy from his hands, rather than cry, he takes the insult in stride.
He’s always willing to lend a hand with the housework, whether it’s using a broom to ‘sweep up’ the box of crackers he’s just dumped on the floor or mopping up a glass of spilled milk.
Just this morning, when an open container of chicken stock fell from the refrigerator and drenched me from head to toe, he kindly offered a helping hand in the form of Elmo, who used his furry red hands to wipe off my boots. Unfortunately, now it’s not just my clothes that need a good wash.