A Tale of Ten Tablecloths

It seemed like a no-brainer. A visitor to our Hashkama minyan felt the davening would be enhanced if the folding tables were covered with white tablecloths. So he went out and bought 10 white tablecloths and dropped them off in the Shul.

The new tablecloths created a few small logistics problems: they need to be put on the tables; they need to be folded after the minyan; they need to be stored somewhere in our tight-for-storage Shul; they need to be cleaned periodically; and these responsibilities fall unexpectedly on the minyan Gabbai.

The larger issue is that enhancements and donations to the Shul need to be managed by a process which is administered by the officers, boards and members responsible for the care and feeding of the Shul. It needn’t be complicated, but there needs to be points of responsibility and determination of need.

This incident highlights a large point about chesed. Chesed is giving a person (or a Shul) what they really need, not necessarily what you think they need. That is why it makes a lot of sense to ask the appropriate Shul contacts when you want to make a non-cash donation. Does that make sense?