A Tip to Doers
Question: As one very much involved in initiating and leading communal projects like school, synagogue and charity drives, I often wonder whether I am not foolish in taking on seemingly impossible challenges and if I am not guilty of demanding too much from the people whose help I solicit. What is the right thing to do?
Answer: How fortunate are you to be counted among those whom all Jews pray for every Shabbat in the synagogue for being “faithfully involved in the needs of the community”!
Your question has already been answered by the Talmudic Sage Rabbi Gamliel, the son of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, in Pirkei Avot (2:2) in his counsel to those who strive for the welfare of the community. Following are the points he made, as explained in the commentary of Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura:
1) Be sure that your motivation is only for Heaven’s sake and not to gain glory from your success.
2) Be confident that you will succeed in your endeavors for the community, not because of your talents but thanks to the merits of the community and their ancestors.
3) Don’t hesitate to demand more help from the people you solicit for your cause than it appears they are capable of giving because the merit of their ancestors will enable them to meet your challenge.
4) Remembers that even though it is not your talents that are achieving success and not your own money that is achieving your goal, Heaven will reward you as if you did it all by yourself.