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Do something Seventeen

Friday, 6 January, 2017 - 12:43 pm

I love numbers. In school I loved math, and until this day I enjoy any problem or discussion that deals with numbers. So here’s a “number” on 2017.

In Hebrew, every letter has a value: Alef is worth 1, Bet 2 and so on. From Yud through Tzadik we go with tens; Yud is ten, Kaf – twenty and so on; the final four letters represent 100 through 400 respectively. This is known as “Gimatriya”. Often, we will look at the numerical value of a word, i.e. adding up the combined value of each individual letter and thus certain ideas and words can be expressed with numbers.

A famous Gimatriya you may be familiar with is 18. It’s a popular Jewish number and many give charity in multiples of 18. The Hebrew word Chai – which means “alive” of “life” is spelled Yud – 10 and Chet – 8, hence 18 represents life; and since the Talmud teaches that “Tzedakah saves from death” that through charity we earn a blessing for life; it became popular to associate charity with multiples of 18.

The number 17 is a number most of us are going to use daily for the next 360 days or so. This number is almost as popular as 18, as it represents the Hebrew word Tov – good (Tet – 9, Vav – 6 and Bet – 2). In my adolescence I had the merit of attending many of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s talks and often on the 17th of any Jewish month he would refer to that day as “Tov” of the month, rather than the standard “Yud-Zayin”.

So if one needs any indications or encouragement that this coming year will be a good one, there you have it, right in the number.

As Jews, we celebrate our new year and our annual cycle from Rosh Hashanah, but living in a secular world, our fiscal year still begins in January.

Looking at the financials, 2016 was an amazing year for Chabad of Northwest Arkansas. 181 donors have come forward to cover our entire budget of just below $200,000. We are humbled and full of gratitude to each and every one of them, as “every little bit adds up to a large sum” and many small amounts makes a huge difference.

With the onset of 2017, I would like to encourage you to do something so seventeen, so “tov", so "good" and join a growing number of locals and visitors to our area who are part of the “Chai Club”, a group of people who contribute a small fixed amount at the beginning of each month.

The idea is simple: Chabad has no membership dues so we are supported entirely by the generosity of our community members and friends. By allocating a small amount each month, you are making a huge impact on our budget without making a huge impact on yours. Think of it as one leisure activity a month. Pick an amount that you would spend without thinking twice: whether it’s 10, 36 or 50 dollars and designate it as your support for Chabad. Not everyone can dedicate a building, but everyone can make a difference.

Since you’re joining dozens of others, you will be making a big difference in our monthly budget; but even more than that, you will become a partner in every Mitzvah Chabad enables that month; and there are hundreds – if not thousands – each month. It’s a worthwhile investment.

Take a moment and visit our donate page, fill in your generous donation and click the recurring button on bottom to indicate you want this amount to be charged each month. You will feel good knowing you make a difference in the Jewish landscape of Northwest Arkansas.

Thank you very much and Shabbat Shalom, 

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