Being Kind by Accident – Parashat Ki Teitzei

“….When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a bundle in the field, you shall not go back to take it; it shall be for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, so that G-d, your G-d, will bless you in all that you do……” (Devarim 24:19)

כִּי תִקְצֹר קְצִירְךָ בְשָׂדֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה יִהְיֶה לְמַעַן יְבָרֶכְךָ ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכֹל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ – דברים כד, יט

– So that He will bless you – even though this Mitzvah came to your hand without intention… It can hence be said: if a sela-coin dropped from one’s hand, and a poor man found it and was sustained by it, then he who lost the coin will be blessed on its account. —Rashi

Ki Teitzei

A reward seems most appropriate for someone whose kindness is altruistic. Perhaps one could even be rewarded for good deeds that they did by choice, even if for ulterior motives. But why should someone be credited and blessed for his money going to charity by accident without his direct involvement at all?

We find similarly that someone who was physically forced to agree to fulfill a Torah obligation, is reckoned by the Halacha as having done so “willingly”. The Rambam (Geirushin 2:20) explains that “it is the genuine and sincere desire of every Jew to observe all the mitzvos and to avoid all the prohibitions and it only his evil inclination that coerces him otherwise.” This desire to obey G-d’s will is rooted in the essence of the Jewish soul, which transcends even the conscious mind. Therefore, even if one seems forced to do a mitzvah, or his conscious motive is not the purest, what truly motivates him is the “sincere desire of every Jew to observe all the mitzvos”.

The same can be said of a mitzvah fulfilled accidentally. Chassidus explains that the soul’s essence transcends its conscious mind, and can therefore influence the person’s deeds even subconsciously. Even when a Jew unknowingly drops a coin, it is possible that his body was driven to do so by his essential desire to give charity, a desire which transcends even his conscious mind. If it is then found by someone in need, the donor’s inner desire to donate to tzedaka is thus fulfilled. He is therefore credited with this mitzvah although he may be entirely “unaware” that he even dropped the coin

—Toras Menachem, Sefer Hamaamarim Melukat, vol. 1, p 243


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