A Tale of Two Donors – Parashat Re’eh

August 17, 2017 at 4:26 PM , , ,

As much as you generously give… Each man according to his ability to gift, according to the blessing of G-d, your G-d. (Devarim 16:10-17)

The Torah speaks here of two different donors, one who is being instructed to give as much as his generosity allows, and the other according to his gift-giving abilities.

Parashat Re'eh
These two donors are people of different means. The first is not particularly well-off, and can easily justify the use of all his money for his personal needs and the needs of his family. The Torah therefore appeals to his generosity, instructing him to be kind and generous, even beyond that which is expected of him.

The second one is wealthy, and he knows that G-d has blessed him with surplus, well beyond his needs. He understands that G-d provides sustenance for all humanity; some have the good fortune of earning it on their own, while others need to receive it via the generosity of others. He recognizes that he has been appointed by G-d as a custodian over funds that are sufficient for many others as well, and therefore it is only logical that he donate them to charity. Therefore, the Torah does not instruct him regarding the need to be generous and part with his money, but about the feelings and cordiality with which he gives. He should not give reluctantly, but “according to his ability to gift” – with the warmth and friendliness that one gives a gift.

The sequence in which these two donors are addressed teaches us that the fulfillment of one will lead to the fulfillment of the other. If one gives generously to charity even when his funds are limited, he is assured by G-d that soon his charity-giving will not require the command to be generous. He will be blessed with such wealth that his charitableness will be a given, and also with the nobleness of spirit to “gift” – affectionately and magnanimously.

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