The Heart of Avraham – Re’eh (Parsha insights – Sages of Mussar)

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There are two aspects that comprise the act of giving charity: 1) the actual giving of the gift; and, 2) the  willingness of  the heart to give. The Torah (Devarim 15:10) teaches the importance of giving charity with positive feelings: “You shall surely give him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him…”

Rashi comments (Devarim 15:7) that there are some people who give charity, yet struggle in their hearts over parting with their money. Hence, although they give, they do not give with an open and generous heart.

The manner of giving of a person whose heart is troubled over giving is marked by delays. Therefore, even if he grants a gift or performs an act of kindness for another person it will stumble forth with delays and limitations. Whereas, a gift that is given by a person with a good heart flows forth in great abundance, i.e., he gives generously and desires to bestow much benefit upon the recipient.

Moreover, the sign of a ‘good heart’ is manifest in the benefactor’s desire to give generously, i.e., the giver performs his kindness without a trace of resentment. Therefore, there are no interruptions in his giving because he desires to continuously give and help.

The desire to give more and more is the essence of  Divine kindness. The loving kindness of HaShem for his creations flows forth continuously without any limitation.  Like the roaring current of a mighty river, the kindness of HaShem constantly grows and increases.  Hence, the Divine kindness flows unbounded and uninterrupted. Our liturgy in the Grace After Meals expresses this goodly attribute of  HaShem: And through His great goodness we have never lacked.

The Torah teaches us that the primary component of giving is not in the actual gift, rather, in the good feelings and  desire to give – to give with one’s full heart. Our religion was founded by Avraham, who was a master of compassion and loving kindness of the heart. May we follow in Avraham’s footsteps and give abundantly and without bounds. (Based on Da’as Torah of Rabenu Yerucham HaLevi)

Today: Do a kind deed for someone today – and put your heart into it.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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