Wednesday, August 13, 2008

“Give Ma’aser, and You Will Become Wealthy…”

Someone once came to Rav Pinchas of Koritz, zt”l, and asked a question that was obviously troubling him. “In Taanis 9, we find that Chazal cite the phrase עשר תעשר, literally ‘you shall surely give a tenth of your earnings,’ and reinterpret the second word as t’asheir instead of t’aser. This alters the meaning to, ‘Give a tenth, so that you will become wealthy.’ Here we have an assurance that if we faithfully give away a tenth of our earnings, we will be successful financially. I have given ma’aser assiduously my whole life. Why, then, have I have not merited wealth?”
Rav Pinchas answered, “Let me tell you a true story about my neighbor that sheds light on your question. My neighbor is a wagon driver. He has good horses and he cares for them with great devotion, always providing them with the best food and shelter possible. As expected, the horses have always preformed well, and they run with great endurance in all types of weather. One time, the horses failed to follow orders. Although they were hitched to their wagon and primed to travel, they simply refused to move. Since their owner knew that his animals lacked nothing, their obstinacy infuriated him. He figured that they needed to be taught a lesson. He began to beat them, all the while repeating his command that they start moving. An onlooker shouted at the wagon driver, ‘You are cruel to your animals! They have done nothing wrong! How can you expect them to move if you have the brakes engaged?’”
“This is your problem too,” explained the Rav. “Giving ma’aser can propel one’s financial success forward just as the horses hitched to the wagon will propel it toward its destination. However, if the brakes are engaged at the same time, the driver won’t get anywhere at all. If you are braking by failing to observe Shabbos and kashrus properly, the horses are not to blame for your inability to reach your goal. You must release the break mechanism by doing teshuvah and changing your behavior!”

2 comments:

Menashe said...

R' Pinchas is a tzaddik the likes of whom the world has not seen since. Very interesting character - a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, who, although older and longer a chassid than the Maggid, was passed over for the nesius and nevertheless faithfully visited the "young" Maggid on a regular basis.

It's said that on one such visit when he was visiting Mezeritch he saw Chassidus being strewn around in the wind [or something to that effect.] He was so upset by this disrespect for his master (Zaide, as the Alter Rebbe called him) that the Maggid said this literally caused his life to be put into danger until the Alter Rebbe came and alleviated R' Pinchas' anger, thus saving the Maggid's life. This was the power of the tzadik R' Pinchas - that his anger could literally have an effect on the physical world. This is how the story began in which the Alter Rebbe gave for the first time the reasoning, by mashal, why Chassidus as a seichel, rather than just an avodah, must be spread chutza.

Nira said...

Keep up the good work.