Today is the 15th day of Tebet, 5771
What is more significant in terms of character formation? To give a big amount of money to charity at once or to give one dollar at a time? (We are not examining here the merits of the different charities, just the impact of this habit on our character)
“positive behavior characteristics are not acquired by doing (a one time) great positive act but rather through the repetition of many positive acts. For example, giving one thousand gold coins to one charity will not accustom a person to the habit of ‘generosity’, whereas giving one gold coin to a thousand charities will do so. By repeating an act many times, an established behavior or emotional pattern is formed. In contrast, one great act might represent a one time arousal to good, after which that motivation might disappear”.
Over time, one simple act repeated several times -a string of small experiences- can accumulate to become strong enough to overwhelm even a major experience.
Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024