Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:8

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:8
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi Elazar of Bartosa would say: Give Him what is His, for you, and whatever is yours, are His. As David says: "For everything comes from You, and from Your own hand we give to You" (I Chronicles 29:14).”

This passage deals with generosity and being selfless. Knowing that we are all the family called the human race and we need to be charitable and lookout for one another. Even our enemies.

Prov. 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

Matt. 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Here is what the commentary says in the Perkei Avot:

“An inspiring exhortation to be generous in dispensing charity. Man should withhold neither himself nor his wealth from the wishes of Heaven. All that he is and has belongs to God, and he should be ready to dedicate all his faculties in fulfillment to God’s will. {For R. Elazar’s own lavish generosity in alms giving, see Taanis 24a]

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr