An Unusual IRS Audit

From Rabbi David Wolpe:

Each morning a father enters our morning minyan with his two daughters.  Before he drops them off at our school, he and his daughters put some money in the Tzedakah box.  One morning another worshiper, Norm Pell, approached me and reminded me of a beautiful midrash.  When the women and men of Israel gave Tzedakah, what did their children do?  They watched, and learned what it is to help those in need.

In turn I was reminded of something that happened when I was a child.  My father, for the first time in his life, was audited.  When he asked why, he was told that his taxes were flagged for excessive charitable contributions -- The I.R.S. wanted to verify that he really gave the money away!  I never forgot the example he and my mother were setting for their children.

Our money is on loan.  Sooner or later it will have to be given up -- the shrouds in which we are buried have no pockets. To be charitable is not only to invigorate a community, to help others, to burnish one's own souls; it is to teach children an invaluable lesson.  Rowan teaches his daughters the importance of giving each morning. May our Tzedakah boxes always ring with the coins of children.

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.