Ethics

For the week ending 28 January 2006 / 28 Tevet 5766

The Crowded Mailbox

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I keep getting all sorts of “junk mail” in my mailbox from those who are advertising their services or products and from committees appealing for charity funds. What is the right thing to feel toward this unsolicited mail?

Answer: As regards the commercial advertising you should adopt a positive view. You may be surprised to find, with one quick glance, a service or product you have been looking for. Even if you fail to discover anything worthwhile, you should take comfort in the fact that this unsolicited literature comes in place of a door-to-door salesman who is much harder to get rid of.

Reacting to appeals for charity funds is a different story. Don’t be too quick to throw away that brochure from a yeshiva or that impassioned form letter about a campaign to help a widow and orphans. This may be your opportunity to give charity for a very worthy cause. And even if your charity budget is already overtaxed, at least read the appeal and heave a sigh of empathy. Who knows what impact in Heaven there will be from a Jew who would have liked to help but couldn’t?

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