The Metaphysics of Charity

Baal Haturim Deuteronomy: Reeh

The Metaphysics of Charity

There never was a person who did anything worth doing, who did not receive more than he gave. -Henry Ward Beecher

giving saplingBeing charitable is a Jewish value that is recorded already from the stories of our Patriarch Abraham. In the time of Moses it is codified as law, including the requirement to tithe. The Rabbis give further clarification as to the percentage and measurements of different agricultural donations that each farmer was expected to contribute.

The Baal Haturim on this week’s Torah portion provides a number of pointers as to the metaphysical reality of charity. He states in Deuteronomy 12:19 that the act of giving charity leads directly to increased wealth. In Deuteronomy 15:8 he explains that if a person listens to and provides for the poor, God in turn will listen to and provide for the charitable person. The inverse is also true. If a person ignores the plea of the poor, God is likely to ignore the potentially charitable person.

Finally, the Baal Haturim on Deuteronomy 15:10 details that we should be careful to provide the solicitant what they need. He brings as an example the story of King David who when he was seeking refuge from the ire of King Saul escaped to the Cohanic city of Nov where they provided him with bread and a sword, two things he was in dire need of.

May we have the capacity and opportunity to be generous to those in need and may we see our generosity divinely and abundantly rewarded.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To Rachel and Shalom Berger on their abundant celebrations.

2 thoughts on “The Metaphysics of Charity

  1. thank you for rekindling my interest in the baal haturim
    your blog enhances our Shabbos table
    as an aside
    last week on pasuk 15:8 the baal haturim comments on the “double pei”
    the artscroll edition depicts the graphic representations of what such a “pei” looks like
    next morning I walked over to the bima during laining to see such a “double pei” – amazing – our sefer did not have such a “pei” !!!

    • Dear Efraim,

      Thank you so much for your kind comments. I myself didn’t notice the double “pei” either.

      Shabbat Shalom!

      Ben-Tzion

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