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?

Comments

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: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…