The ‘Gold’ That Holds Our Community Together

Crown Heights women care for each other in ‘gold,’ ‘silver,’ and ‘copper’ ways. Though the ‘gold’ doesn’t get as much attention, it prevents the bigger issues from arising and keeps us strong as a community.

By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

It’s explained in seforim that the three primary items donated to the Mishkan, gold, silver and copper, represent three levels in giving tzedakah.

Nechoshes, copper, stands for nesinas choleh she’omar tenu, the gift of a sick person who says, “Give my money to tzedakah! Perhaps in this merit, I will be healed.” This is someone who gives out of desperation. Kesef, silver, stands for k’sheyesh sakanas pachad, when there’s a sense of danger. This is when someone gives tzedakah to avoid a potential problem. And finally, zahav, gold, is an acronym for zeh hanosen bori, one who gives in good health. This is the highest level, to give even when there’s no dire need for salvation.

Illness or other crises, R”l, are the nechoshes of life. We hope and pray that these desperate situations never arise, but if they do, we invest ourselves entirely into remedying them. Kesef are all the types of preventive measures we take to avoid undesirable situations. Talking to our children about unsafe people is necessary, but hardly the ideal conversation. Zahav represents the healthy, normal interactions and experiences in life. Anything from learning a blatt Gemara to serving supper to playing ball with our children. To be sure, these activities aren’t as sensational as nechoshes and kesef, but they’re the ideal. In fact, even when we’re forced to deal with the nechoshes of life, we try hard to maintain normalcy as much as possible. We reach for the gold.

I’m one-track-minded these days because my wife is preparing for a fundraiser for the Crown Heights Women’s Circle.

The women who make up this organization help young mothers in Crown Heights through the nechoshes moments in life—aveilus, illness, pregnancy loss or divorce R”l. They also provide help under less desperate circumstances, kesef interactions, with educational events on shalom bayischinuch, bullying, postpartum depression, or home organization.

But I think that their real calling is the zahav they provide and promote.

Women coming together weekly to learn Chassidus and support each other; mothers and daughters spending quality time together studying and socializing; yearly Shabbatons that provide chizuk and camaraderie—these may not get as much attention as the kesef or nechoshes, but they’re really the Jewish gold standard that prevents bigger issues from ever arising and keeps us strong as a community.

I urge all our readers to reflect on the gold in life. Value it. Maintain it. Promote it.

Additionally, please join our efforts by contributing to the Women’s Circle of Crown Heights as we reach for the gold. The campaign begins in five days, but donations can already be made now at

May Hashem bless us that our lives be filled with gold, and may we merit to serve Hashem in His ultimate home, the third Beis Hamikdash, very soon.

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