Tag Archives: Tzedakah

What Do You Owe Yourself?

This post is going to be a lot more personal and a lot less practical than most here, but I hope folks will find it meaningful.

There is a strong push towards individualism in the polyam community today. And long time readers may have noticed that this push doesn’t always sit well with me. I am a very communal person, especially for a white-privileged American.¬† Helping and supporting my community is important to me. Which is one of the reasons my nesting partner and I practice tzedakah.

Tzedakah is the Jewish¬†mitzvah or duty to give back to our community. It’s usually translated as charity, but the implications and connotations of charity are all wrong. Yes tzedakah usually involved giving money. That’s all it has in common with what most people mean when they say charity. We give tzedakah not because other people need it (though they do) but because we owe it to ourselves to take care of our community and the people in our community.

So what does this have to do with polyamory?

Last week I wrote about the power of cash and the impact of money privilege on relationships. And I said that we don’t owe our partners money. And I stand by that.

But I also believe we owe it to ourselves to take care of our communities. Which is why a percentage of our household income each month goes to friends and polyam partners in need, to non-profit organizations that make the world a better place, to random calls for help on the internet.

Obviously, not everyone shares this philosophy. But if you haven’t yet–maybe ask yourself sometime what you owe yourself in terms of taking care of the people you love and the community you belong to. Whether you come up with a similar answer to mine or a very different one, it’s worth thinking about.

 

(I couldn’t manage a Father’s Day post this year, but wishing the best to all the dad’s out there.)