Monday, August 1, 2011

The Best Portion

The Rambam teaches an important halachic principle from the fact that the chelev of a sacrifice is reserved for Hashem. “Just like in a sacrifice the chelev, which is the best part of the animal, is reserved for Hashem, the same is true regarding other mitzvos. If you wish to build a shul, make it nicer than your house. When you feed the hungry, do so with the best and sweetest foods on your table. A person who provide clothing for those who need them should do so with his best garments. As the verse states, ‘And all chelev is for Hashem!’”
Once, a certain person came to the Imrei Emes, zt”l, and explained that he wished to daven but did not have tefillin and desired to borrow a pair. To everyone’s shock the rebbe took out a very valuable pair of tefillin which he had as an inheritance from his ancestors and loaned this pair to the man requesting tefillin.
The chassidim were astounded, “The rebbe himself rarely puts on these precious tefillin! How did he lend them, then, to the poor man?” they whispered among themselves.
But when they asked the rebbe about this apparently strange behavior, his answer was sharp and to the point as usual. “What kind of a question is that? Am I not fulfilling the mitzvah of gemilas chassadim when I lend that unfortunate fellow a pair of tefillin? The Rambam writes that we should use the best we own to do mitzvos. As the verse states, ‘And all chelev is for Hashem!’”

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