Israel Forever

For the week ending 25 February 2006 / 27 Shevat 5766

Give Till It Hurts

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

One of the oldest slogans used in fundraising campaigns for charitable causes is “Give till it hurts”. In the Torah approach to giving, it can safely be stated that unless one actually endangers his financial security he will never be hurt from giving generously.

This assurance was symbolized by something described in the special “Parshat Shekalim” chapter we will be reading this Shabbat in addition to the regular weekly portion.

When Moshe expressed difficulty in determining what size coin each Jew was required to give as his machatzit hashekel contribution to the construction of the Mishkan Sanctuary, he was shown by the Creator a coin of fire that he should use as a model.

The choice of fire rather than silver as the material for this model was intended as a lesson for those called upon to give. There is plenty of water in the ocean and sand on the shore. But if one drop of water or one grain of sand is removed, there is something missing, as indiscernible as it may be. Fire is the one exception. One can use fire to light, to heat and to cook without reducing the amount of fire. In similar fashion one who gives to a good cause need not be concerned that he will be hurt by his loss, because G-d will certainly reward his charitable act with replenishment and perhaps even more.

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