July 25, 2024

Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur Is More Relevant Than Ever in 2024

People Outside of The Western Walls Tunnels

Jewish philanthropists and influential religious leaders have long recognized the importance of staying connected and supporting one another, especially during challenging times. The Talmud teaches us, ‘al tifrosh min hatzibur’ which translates to, ‘do not separate yourself from the community’. This principle is more relevant than ever in our modern age. Keep reading to learn why and how you can invite its benefits into your daily life.

What Does Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur Mean?

The teaching of al tifrosh min hatzibur originates from the Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) – a compilation of ethical maxims from noteworthy Jewish Rebbes

This specific phrase can be found in Pirkei Avot 2:4, where the sage Hillel states: “Al tifrosh min hatzibur, v’al tamin b’atzmecha ad yom motcha,” or “Do not separate yourself from the community, and do not trust in yourself until the day of your death.”

It reflects the high value Judaism places on connections within family units and community synagogues alike. Sticking together is a way of ensuring everyone has the support, shared resources, and belonging they need to live a fulfilled life. 

How Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur Aligns With Other Jewish Values

Jewish law has always emphasized the importance of community. It’s an underlying theme in several Jewish traditions, such as saving money for wheat (maos chitim), tithing (maaser kesafim), visiting the sick (bikur cholim), and fulfilling the mitzvah of pe’ah (corners), which originates from ancient Jewish farmers’ practice of saving a portion of their seasonal harvest for the hungry.

Today, we embrace communal responsibility (arvut hadadit) by giving to organizations that fight food insecurity, performing work and service (avodah), and sharing the peace in our homes (mitzvah of shalom bayit) with others through acts of hospitality (hachnasat orchim).

There’s even a Hebrew term to describe this collective commitment – ‘Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,’ or ‘All Israelis support one another’. It, along with the other core maxims of empathy and compassion (kiddush hashem), compassionate giving (bitachon), humility (anavah), justice (tzedek), and human dignity and respect (kavod habriyot) drive our efforts to build the world with kindness (olam chesed yibaneh).

The Value of Staying Connected During Times of Crisis

There are plenty of times in Jewish history that our people wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for communal support. Noticing the good (hakarat hatov) and holding on through difficult crises is easier when you have others to lean on. In our modern world, we face new and evolving challenges that test our resilience. A global pandemic, economic uncertainty, social unrest – these crises can leave us feeling isolated and overwhelmed. But just as our ancestors drew strength from their community, we too can find comfort and courage in staying connected.

Reaching out to friends and loved ones, even virtually, reminds us that we are not alone. So can participating in our communities, whether through signing up to volunteer or donating to charities that support children’s education, non-profit healthcare projects, initiatives against poverty, and other important causes. Any practice of putting other souls first (mesirus nefesh) with loving kindness (chesed) and charity (tzedakah) has measurable psychological benefits for givers and receivers alike. 

Staying Connected Through Jewish Charity Tradition

Jewish holidays are rich in charity traditions that give us a reason to gather, connect, and do good deeds (mitzvot). For example, Passover’s meaning is deeply tied to a shared meal, the seder bonds us through symbolic foods, songs, and prayers and blessings of Jews’ journey from slavery to freedom. Hanukkah’s miracle reminds us to hold onto hope and faith even in our darkest moments. We use it as an opportunity to donate to organizations against hunger, orphans’ charities, widows’ groups, and other causes in need of donations on Chanukah.

Every Day Is an Opportunity to Commit an Act of Kindness

Involvement in community-building initiatives is a year-round affair for the Jewish people. Important Chabad figures teach the importance of living a life led by altruism – which, according to the Eight Degrees of Giving, can look like many things.

From daily acts of meaningful compassion and regular volunteering to participation in one-time art fundraisers and occasional donations through online giving platforms, there are countless ways to make a positive impact. The key is to find ways to give that align with your values, skills, and resources. Whether you prefer to work behind the scenes or take a more visible role, every act of kindness ripples outward, creating a more compassionate and connected world.

Colel Chabad Was Built by and for the Jewish Community

Israel is home to a large number of support networks for families and individuals in need. As the oldest Jewish charity organization of its kind, Colel Chabad has stood as a pillar of support and protection for those facing poverty, hunger, and other hardships since being founded in 1788. Our non-profit aims to share the love of the Chabad movement with individuals from all walks of life across Israel and around the world. A broad range of programs makes us the best place to donate to support numerous worthy causes. 

Gett Chesed

The Jewish community isn’t immune to the effects of isolation. Small gestures, like checking in on a neighbor or sharing a meal with someone who is lonely, can make a world of difference. That’s exactly what Gett Chesed provides lonely elders in our community – social support with a warm smile every day of the Jewish calendar year.

Groups for Widows

Sharing struggles with others can lighten one’s own burdens while strengthening the bonds between those facing similar challenges. Our retreats for widows provide a safe space to share experiences, offer comfort, and find renewed purpose after loss.

Daycare Centers

Quality childcare is essential for working families, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Our subsidized daycare centers ensure that children receive nurturing care and early education while their parents pursue employment or training opportunities.

Help Those Who Need It The Most

Repairing the world (tikkun olam) isn’t easy. But at Colel Chabad, we believe it’s achievable with your help. Our programs support the sanctity of human life from infancy to old age. And they’re made possible by male and female Jewish philanthropists of all ages and backgrounds who share our beliefs. People just like you.

Regardless of how much you give, rest assured that every contribution goes toward funding critical vital services that strengthen communities at large. Help us uplift lives by donating today.


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בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלִי נֶדֶר אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה