Giving of Torah & Giving!

Friday, 14 June, 2024 - 7:10 am

The Torah was ‘given’ once more for the 3337th time this Shavuot.

I recently ordered new checks from the bank. The check printing company wanted to know if I would like to write on the checks ‘doing business for 30 years’

Why would someone want to advertise how long they have been in business? 

One of the reasons is that there is automatic credibility attached to things that withstand the test of time.

We don’t add any inscription on the Torah scroll and there is no official announcement before we read the Torah on Shavuot about how many years ago it was given. 

It’s incredibly impressive when you think about it. More than three thousand years after it was given, the Torah is fresh, current and teaches how to live life in our day and age.

This is because the Torah is meant to be studied as a current set of instructions.

The Torah is a book of teachings and instructions that not just tell us how to life, it literally gives us life.

The Torah is ‘Emet’ – Truth.

The word ‘א מ ת’ in Hebrew has the first, middle and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This symbolizes the fact that the Truth of Torah is eternal. From the beginning, through the middle and till the end of time the Torah is unchanging. 

Hashem didn’t just give the Torah way back at Sinai, He is constantly ‘re’giving the Torah to us. 

This is why every single morning, as we start our day, we thank Hashem for giving us the Torah.

Make Torah study a part of your day.

It is contemporary and current. It contains the blueprints and recipes for living a wholesome and beneficial life. 

Realistically, things have changed radically over the last 3336 years. 

Imagine what the world looked like back then. Vs what the world looks like now.

For example, today we are able to learn Torah with a Kindle or online, where in the past we  needed books and scrolls.

We are blessed with being able to study at night without having to light candles. Electricity is a great innovation.

Yet, the mitzvas and values of the Torah have not changed one iota.

For example, one of the verses in our Parsha of Nasso that never ceases to grab my attention and inspire me is: 

Everyone's holy things shall belong to him; whatever a man gives to the kohen shall be his.

Rashi comments that this verse can also be read, "if a person keeps his holy things and does not give them to the priests altogether, he will in the end possess only as much as he should have given, and no more. Whereas if a person does give the priest what is due to him, he will be rewarded by being wealthy."

Let me explain what is meant here. If for example, a person’s field yielded 100 bushels of produce. Out of those 100, ten percent, needs to be given to a Levite as ‘Maaser’ tithe. If the person withholds from the Levi his rightful tenth, he, the owner may land up next year only making 10 bushels of yield. i.e. ‘he (the owner) will in the end possess only as much as he should have given (10 bushels, that he was meant to give to the Levi).

Conversely, if the owner gives the Kohen and Levi their rightful portion, he (the owner) will be rewarded by being wealthy.

This verse teaches us an eternal G-dly truth.

Hoarding and being frugal in sharing with others doesn’t pay in the long run.

Sharing and being charitable are more beneficial even in the financial sense.

Does it make logical sense? Not really. Rationally speaking if you ‘hoard’ and keep more for yourself you will have more. If you give and donate to others, you will have less.

The Torah tells us the supra rational truth and reveals to us how Hashem’s world operates.

In a counterintuitive way. If you give to others, you have more for yourself. 

Yes, the Torah states unequivocally that kindness, sharing, and Tzedaka are the conduit for blessing.

And the Torah has withstood the test of time. Different philosophies and movements have come and gone, while the Torah has emerged time and time again as the only everlasting truth.

Try it. 

Give generously. 

Of the commodity that you have been blessed with. 

Money to tzedakah is the obvious and default definition of being charitable. 

But there are multitudes of ways that one can give. 

A helpful piece of advice for someone who needs guidance. A listening ear to someone who is in pain. An uplifting compliment to someone who is feeling low. A nutritious meal to someone who is hungry. 

One of the most pristine forms of Tzedaka is helping someone perform a mitzvah that they wouldn’t think of doing themselves. 

A community member brought a guest to Bet Elisheva synagogue on the eve of Shavuot. Besides for attending the holiday services it was still before sunset and he got to put on Tefillin for the first time in his life. The person who brought him gave his guest a uniquely valuable gift.

In whatever way you are blessed to be able to give, give freely to others, you will find your own wherewithal enhanced not diminished.

At this point in my article, I could share a story, or two, or three about how giving to others doesn’t diminish your own ‘bottom-line’ but on the contrary it enhances it. 

Click here for many stories about Tzedaka

However, I would like to suggest that YOU tell the story. Think about the times that you have been kind to others and recall how that let you feel more uplifted and invited more blessing to your life.

Even better, create NEW stories. Broaden your circle of giving and watch the blessed outcomes.

I would love to hear your stories.

Our Sages tell us that Tzedaka has a unique power to hasten the coming of Mashiach. 

We Want Mashiach Now!

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

Comments on: Giving of Torah & Giving!
There are no comments.