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February 2013

10 posts from January 2013

A World of Favors

In Hebrew, there are two words for lending: one is lehashil, which means to lend an object, like a car or a hammer. The other word is lehalvot, which means to lend a sum of money. Why two different words? Rashi explains that there is an inherent difference between lending an object and lending money: if I lend you my book, I'd sincerely appreciate your returning the same exact book to me. But if someone lends you fifty dollars, they don't need the same exact banknotes in return; any fifty dollars will suffice.

By the same token, there is a major difference between doing someone a material favor and doing someone a spiritual favor. Material favors should be returned in kind, even though the giver should not expect remuneration of any kind, otherwise it's not a true favor. For example, if someone mowed your lawn when you went on vacation, it would be nice of you to reciprocate when he goes on vacation.

Spiritual favors are different. If someone teaches you about emuna or how to talk to Hashem in personal prayer, you should of course be grateful. But, instead of returning the favor, pass it on to others. Teach them about emuna and how satisfying it is to have your own personal relationship with Hashem. And in that way, you're doing a big favor for the person who first helped you.

Olam Chesed yibaneh - we can build a better world by doing favors for one another.


The Sadigora Rebbe, zatza"l

Sadigora rebbe 007With tearful eyes and a broken heart, we're sorry to inform you of the passing of the
Sadigora Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Avrohom Yaakov Friedman of saintly and blessed memory, this morning at the age of 84 in Bnai Brak.

No other great Chassidic leader in this generation so represented and fought for everything we here at the Beams hold dear. The Sadigora Rebbe was not only a monumental scholar of Torah and a man of utmost holiness and impeccable character; he was a lover of the Land of Israel and a fierce fighter against relinquishing territories to those who repeatedly vow to destroy us. The Sadigora Rebbe was a true spiritual leader and a rare gem of an individual. We mourn his passing and pray that he will intervene for us by the Heavenly Throne. 

Real Giving

How can you differentiate between a person who's doing something for Hashem and between someone who's doing something for himself?

It's pretty easy. Here's an example:

A yeshiva boy, a soldier or another guest walks into shul on Friday night. They're obviously visitors and they don't yet have an arrangement for the Friday night meal. "Reuven" greets the guest and invites him for dinner. The guests politely declines, saying that "Shimon" already invited him.

If Reuven is a real giver who's doing something for Hashem's sake, he'll be happy that the guest has a place to eat. If Reuven is doing for his own ego or prestige, he'll be disappointed that the guest will not be eating at his house.

The same goes for Outreach. A true Outreach organization doesn't care how people get close to Hashem, as long as they get close to Hashem! A self-interested organization only wants people to go through them - everyone else is no good. That can't possibly be true Outreach.

The "real giver" law applies to all aspects of life and interpersonal relations. Keep it in mind, for it wll give you a much clearer insight into people's motivation for doing things.