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Tazria(Leviticus 12-13)

The Billionaire Philanthropist

God instructs the Jewish people on the specific sacrifices a woman needs to bring in order to purify herself after childbirth. After a certain number of days:

"Upon the completion ... of her purity ... she shall bring a sheep.... But if she cannot afford a sheep, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young doves ... and she shall become purified."

(Lev. 12:6-8)


An identical spiritual purification takes place whether a woman brings a sheep or can only afford to bring two doves. The Torah is teaching a powerful lesson. A person needs to give - or offer - commensurate with his abilities. When he does, the identical process takes place.

Since God is the only One who could ever provide spiritual atonement for someone's sins, He also set up a system whereby He determines what can "cleanse" a person of their contamination. When a woman offers an animal based upon her own financial abilities, then a cleansing process occurs. If she offers less than she is able to give, it doesn't occur. The exact same thing can be said when a person does an act of kindness.

For example, if someone is very wealthy and donates millions of dollars to charity, this is certainly a wonderful act. Let's compare this person to someone who isn't as wealthy and can only afford to donate a hundred dollars. Just as the identical spiritual cleansing takes place regardless of whether someone brings a sheep or a dove, so too does each person who gives based upon his own abilities receive the identical spiritual reward. Each person is striving to give according to his means.

We live in a society where "more" seems so much better. But when it comes to acts of kindness, it's never about the amount; it's all about our ability.

Your circumstances will sometimes prevent you from giving in the way you really would like and then you'll get "hung up" on this fact. If you do this, you missed the point. We must give not based upon our desire - but rather based upon our ability. And when you honestly give based upon your ability, then your "spiritual reward" is equal to all those who also gave based upon their ability.

So instead of being disappointed the next time you can't give in the way you would like, take much comfort in knowing that God only wants you to give based upon your ability. And when you recognize and live this truism, you'll always give with a billion dollar attitude.

April 23, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 6

(4) Anonymous, April 4, 2016 12:48 PM

Great article! Thanks for posting!

(3) Anonymous, April 23, 2015 11:42 AM

This is great! Thanks for posting!

jay, April 25, 2015 8:07 PM

i agree

Problem with me is that I really dont know what my ability is.

(2) Laya, April 17, 2012 3:44 AM

thank you!

thank you, this helps me a lot.

jay, March 29, 2014 11:56 AM

Think it through

I am going to have to re-ponder this. I don't make much money and I should give more but i feel that I am giving less of the money even with my lower means. Hope that makes sense. Does Jewish custom follow the 10% rule of thumb?

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