Pushke: Charity Box

Question

When we visited my grandmother recently I noticed she had a small colorful box at the entrance for putting coins into for charity. Does this box have a name? Is it a common thing to have? Thanks.

, 1 week

Answers

  1. The box you are referring to is called a pushke in Yiddish, and kupat tzedaka in Hebrew.

    Giving charity is a very basic mitzvah in Judaism. The Hebrew word for charity is tzedaka, from the source word tzedek which means justice. Giving charity is not only an act of kindness and generosity. It is the just thing to do.

    It is very common for families to have pushkes in their home. Some people put spare coins in when they enter their home. Many people have a custom to put coins in the pushke before lighting Shabbat candles. In Israel it is a common sight to see small charity boxes for numerous causes near the cash register in supermarkets and stores for people to put coins from their change into.

    I grew up with a pushke in our house that we often added coins to, and besides being a constant source of charity for the poor, it was a wonderful educational tool to help the children and visitors become accustomed to the important mitzvah of giving tzedaka, charity.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team