This weeks parsha discusses the mitzvah of tzedakah. It states that when someone will approach you and ask for tzedakah, you should give him. The pasuk concludes with a beracha ‘because of this mitzvah of tzedakah Hashem will bless you with all your endeavors and with anything that comes in contact with your hand.’
The gemarah in kesuvos (49) says that beis din may force a person to give tzedakah, just as they can force a person to do any mitzvah stated in the Torah.
There’s a rule that Tosfos brings down, quoting a gemarah in Chulin, which says any mitzvah that it states the reward for fulfilling it, beis din cannot force a person to do that mitzvah. Tosfos asks, that by the mitzvah of tzedakah, it states the reward for one who gives tzedakah. The pasuk clearly says that a person who gives tzedakah will have the hand of Hashem as his ‘partner’ in his dealings. So how can the gemarah say that beis din can force a person to give tzedakah?
The Avnei Miluim (siman 71) quotes from the sefer Ha’ikrim as follows.
The beginning of the aforementioned pasuk says ‘you shall give him money (tzedakah) but when you do so, do not give it with a heavy heart’. What is the reason for this? The pasuk ends off and says ‘because of this mitzvah of tzedakah Hashem will bless you with all your endeavors and with anything that comes in contact with your hand.’ The simple p’shat is that it’s referring to the giving of the tzedakah. When a person gives tzedakah he becomes the recipient of this beracha. Explains the sefer Ha’ikrim, the pasuk is advising us, that a person will only receive this beracha if he gives tzedakah in the proper way that the Torah says. First the Torah says one should give tzedakah. Then it says ‘give it with an open heart’. If one gives tzedakah with an open heart, they will then be zoche to this special beracha of Hashem’s partnership.
Says the Avnei Miluim, this is p’shat in the gemarah. If beis din is forcing him to give tzedakah then he is not giving it in the proper method that the Torah asks us to give it. It is therefore not considered as if the Torah states its reward and tosfos question is answered.
Which one of us would not want this incredible and special beracha of Hashem’s partnership in our business? One should look at the way and the mode he gives tzedakah to someone who stretches their hand out towards you. Do we sigh and think to ourselves ‘again?’ Or do we smile and give the person money and say ‘tizku l’mitzvohs’. It’s something we should be conscious of, should we want to be the beneficiary of such a beracha.
I heard a nice anecdote from a young man who comes from a wealthy family. He believes that the reason his father was blessed with wealth was because the Satmer Rebbe told him, that when he gives tzedakah he shouldn’t give with a heavy heart. He should always try to give a little more than he planned on giving….to ‘feel it’. If you can only afford to give $100….give a drop more, maybe $150…by doing so and giving a little more than you can afford, you will feel it and will help you give tzedakah in the approach that the Torah wants everyone to give; in order to be the receiver of such a special beracha.
May we all be zoche to be diligent in the manner that we give tzedakah so that we all become beneficiaries of the beracha of ‘yivarechicha Hashem elokecha b’chal ma’asecha u’vichal mishlach yadecha’.
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