-Parshas Re'ey
Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17

The Cycle of Blessings ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in loving memory to a dear old friend of mine, Mr. Michael Menzer, may he rest in peace.

In this week's parsha entitled "Guidelines On Giving" we discuss three tools of giving. They are Mah Sar {Tithe}, Ni Daw Reem {[Money] Pledges} and Ni Daw Vawh {[Money] Donations}. We discuss the concepts of each. We discuss responsible giving as opposed to guilt.

What is the cycle of blessing? How does it work?

To define the cycle of blessing, let me preface it with a brief explanation on pledging. Holy reader, we are taught by the Torah not to take a pledge... a vow lightly. A pledge is a commitment that will be depended upon. Because a pledge must not be taken lightly one should NOT pledge what they cannot fulfill. That being the situation one must budget to pledge. If one has not budgeted to pledge they are not prepared to make a commitment and in that sense may not be able to fulfill any commitment that they make.

Jews do not give tithe we owe tithe. Our tithe does not belong to us. We owe tithes. It is similar to the FICA deduction that comes with living in America. Tithe is required. It is an automatic deduction like FICA.

Pledging is also required but on a different level. Pledging is not an automatic deduction like our tithe is. Pledging is a carefully thought out, sound business decision. Pledging is not an act of emotion invoked by a persuasive rabbi or guilt maneuvers of some solicitor!

Now we consider donating, the cycle of blessing... Donating is not pledging. Donating does not require the same intense budgeting as pledging. Donating is NOT planned for, otherwise it would be considered pledging. So one must ask the question, Where does the money used for donating come from? The answer is very simple. Hashem's blessing. Excess! In other words, we budget to spend $100.00 for groceries but only spend $95.00. We got in on a 2 for 1 special on cereal, saving $5.00. That savings was not budgeted for. That extra five dollars resulted because of Hashem's blessing. Now, holy reader, every Jew must train themselves to recognize Hashem's blessing. When Hashem blesses us with excess what are we supposed to do with that extra, unplanned for blessing?

We are Ni Daw Vawh, we are "to donate," we are "to give charity." We are to continue the cycle of blessing. Hashem begins a cycle of blessing in our lives and we are expected to continue that cycle of blessing!

Cycles of blessings come in many special packages. Employment bonuses are another cycle of blessing. Holiday turkeys, gift certificates, raises, reduction in utility bills or auto expenses, etc. are all blessings from Hashem. It is from these blessings that we draw funds to continue this wonderful cycle of blessings. Try it! The cycle of blessing is wonderful and it works!

The Gematria of Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw, meaning "and you [shall] give your free will offering" or "and your donation" is 492. Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw comes from the root Ni Daw Vawh, "to donate [money]" which is the Gematria 61. The difference between the two is personalization. Ni Daw Vawh is just a word meaning "to donate" while Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw makes a connection between the theme "to donate" and the individual required to make that donation. So the mystical difference between Ni Daw Vawh [61] and Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw [492] is the Gematria 431 representing Tay Teev, meaning "you do good."

Ni Daw Vawh {To donate}
61 = Hey 5 Bais 2 Dalet 4 Nun 50

Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw {And you [shall] give your free will offering}
492 = Chof 20 Yud 10 Sav 400 Bais 2 Dalet 4 Nun 50 Vav 6

Tay Teev {You do good}
431 = Bais 2 Yud 10 Tes 9 Yud 10 Sav 400

The first Torah usage of the word Tay Teev is found in Genesis 4:7 where Hashem is explaining to Kayin that he needs to do good. The issue surrounding the brothers is that Hevel brought an offering to Hashem. It was not just any offering. His offering was from the very best of his flocks. Kayin also brought an offering. His offering was of the poorest quality. His offering was spoiled. His offering was what most would throw in the garbage. Obviously Kayin's offering was an insult to Hashem.

Story: The Improper Gift
Once I was the director of a non profit charitable organization. This was a small Jewish organization that solicited donations of autos, clothing, furniture, etc. Once I responded to a call regarding the donation of a recliner chair. When I arrived to pick up the chair I found that it was torn in the seat and soiled by their dog. The tear and soiled area were about the size of two phone books. Upon my kindly explaining that we could not accept this chair, the individual became angry. He ejected me from his home. It was a sad experience.

This individual wanted me to act as a disposal service for his unusable discard. He wanted tax credit for his valuable contribution. He wanted the spiritual blessing of Hevel even though he gave the offering of Kayin.

On another occasion I was called to a home that had a clothing donation. Later at the donation center a staff member commented to me in a sarcastic way, "Who gave this drek?" I examined the clothes, shoes, etc. Essentially nothing was usable. The clothes were worn bare. One could see through the seat in the pants. Some slacks had holes in the knees. Almost every shoe had a hole in it.

Dear readers, I mention these two stories because they stand out in my mind as the opposite of what Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw means. They are on the opposite end of "and you [shall] give your free will offering." Holy ones, junk is NOT a gift of charity. Garbage is NOT a gift of charity. Unfortunately this is what Kayin gave to Hashem as an offering. Kayin's offering was NOT accepted!! Hashem explained to Kayin why his offering was NOT accepted.

Holy readers, Hashem read Kayin's heart. Hashem knew that Kayin didn't want to give anything that was good or useful. Kayin was only willing to give garbage. Sadly there are people in our world today who give offerings like Kayin's.

Hashem made the distinction between what was good and acceptable and what was not good and not acceptable. Unacceptable offerings are a SIN! They represent a variety of sinful conditions!

Hashem pointed out what a good offering was. It was Hevel's offering. It was his offering of abundance. It was his offering of the best of his abundance.

Hashem also pointed out what an unacceptable offering was. It was Kayin's offering of garbage. It was the lowest, poorest of his products. He did NOT give from his abundance.

So the point is when we move from the idea of Ni Daw Vawh {To donate} to Vi Need Voh Seh Chaw {and you [shall] give your free will offering}, THE OFFERING MUST BE MEANINGFUL! It MUST be from the best of our abundance... This is the special unique attachment to donating. It MUST be representative of Hashem's good to us! It MUST be like Hevel's offering! It MUST be Tay Teev, meaning "you do good."

Tay Teev is the type of offering.. the type of charity... the type of good that Hashem expects us to offer. When we follow Hevel's example we are continuing the cycle of blessing from our abundance... from our excess, from what was not planned for, from what was not committed. When we give the best of our abundance we are continuing the cycle of blessing that originated with Hashem.

May Hashem bless you as you continue / begin to employ these wonderful tools of supporting Judaism!

Best Wishes!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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