Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Buying Olam Haba, One Dollar at a Time

More often than not, we have Jews with green cards collecting during davening for one necessity or another.  Having a green card means his story checks out, so I never look at the reason on the green card; I am going to give a dollar no matter what and I think it is a little "over the top" of me to be judging if his request is worth a dollar.  That's just me.  I have another quirk: even he comes back -- either the next day or even the same day (sometimes they get mixed up where they have been) -- I give him another dollar.  I suppose that is just me also; it feels a bit funny to say, "I already gave you a whole dollar." to someone who is collecting for a kollel, or to marry off his 12th child, or to pay off his medical bills from his wife's cancer, and so forth.  Actually, though, it is more than just me; I have a Rambam.

The mishna (Avos 3:15, according to the explanation of the Rambam) says that judgement is on the quantity (not quality) of deeds.  The Rambam comments that the single act of giving $1000.00 to one person and nothing to another does not have the same effect on a person's mida of generosity as giving $1.00 (ok, the Rambam says "z'huvim") to each of 1,000 people.  The constant repetition of small deeds adds up to a much greater effect than one big donation.  That one donation, says the Rambam, certainly inspires a person, but then the inspiration wears off and no real change has been effected in the person.  The effect of those little donations, on the other hand, fix the mida of generosity as permanent acquisition in his soul.  Since the Rambam only considers the giver in this whole equation, I figure I should also.  Actually, since is is harder to give another dollar to the same person, I figure I am actually really hammering that mida of generosity into my soul.

Who says a dollar isn't worth much these days?


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…