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Guaranteed to make you RICH 💲💲💲

Written by Rabbi Moshe Kormornick

Parashas Terumah begins with a charitable appeal to provide materials for the Mishkan, requesting that everyone should give what his heart motivates him to give.[1] Let’s take this opportunity to discuss a small aspect of the mitzvah of tzedaka.

A world-famous multi-billionaire approaches you and claims that he can tell you the secret to attaining great wealth. Who wouldn’t want to hear him out?

“Give charity and I guarantee you that you’ll see tremendous riches,” he says.

“But I can’t afford to give charity,” you respond.

“Trust me,” he says, “In fact, test me and you’ll see that I’m right. And not only will you become rich beyond your wildest dreams, you’ll also be saved from all sorts of terrible things.”

This is a big ask. If he’s right, you’re going to get rich quick. If he’s wrong, you’re going to lose money you can’t afford. So you do your research and although people have questioned his ways, in the long-run this person has always proven to have been correct. Would you listen to him?

Well, this question isn’t so hypothetical after all. But it’s not a famous billionaire telling you this secret, it’s Hashem! The Gemora says that if one sees that his income is scarce, he should give tzedaka and he will no longer be poor.[2] In fact, the verse in Malachi promises abundant wealth to anyone who apportions his money appropriately[3] even saying that Hashem permits us to test Him in this regard.[4] This is explained by the Maharal who writes that through giving, one comes to resemble Hashem — the Ultimate Giver. By doing so, he changes his spiritual-makeup into being a ‘giver,’ and “it is not fitting that a ‘giver’ will have to become a ‘taker,’” thus he will no longer remain in a state of poverty.[5]

Giving tzedaka not only provides assurance of wealth, but the verse in Mishlei tells us that it protects from death.[6] My sister-in-law experienced this first-hand when she met an old woman near the Kosel giving tzedaka to everyone whom she thought might need. When questioned about her behavior, she explained that ten years earlier she had been waiting for a bus outside Machaneh Yehuda in Yerushalayim. Just as she was about to step onto the bus a man asked her for tzedaka. Rather than get on the bus she opened her purse to give the man some coins. She expected the bus driver to wait for her but when she looked up he was gone. Sitting down on the bench, she cried to Hashem, “Why did you make that happen? You know that I needed to be somewhere and the next bus isn’t coming for twenty minutes. Is this my reward for giving tzedaka?” A few minutes later an explosion was heard. It came from the bus she had been about to board. Her life had been saved. From that day, she declared that she would give as much tzedaka as possible to anyone who may need it, because she now understood the protection that it gives.[7]

[1] Shemos 25:1.

[2] Gittin 7a-b based on a verse in Nachum (1:12). The Gemora concludes that this does not exclude someone with sufficient wealth, who should certainly give.

[3] Although the verse is referring to those who support the Kohanim and Leviim in the Beis Hamikdash, the Tur includes this verse when encouraging people to give even today (Yoreh De’ah, 247).

[4] Malachi 3:10. The Beis Yosef understands that one is only permitted to test Hashem in regards to ma’aser, however, the Rema introduces an opposing opinion that Hashem can be tested regarding any tzedaka (Yoreh De’ah, 247)

[5] Chiddushei Aggados, Gittin 7a,b. This is echoed by Rav Dessler when he describes that everyone’s nature is split into two parts which control almost every aspect of his life: he is either a giver or a taker (Michtav M’Eliyahu, vol.1, pg.32 (Kuntress HaChessed)).

[6] Mishlei 10:2. See also, Shabbos 156b.

[7] It is interesting to note that the protection that tzedaka gives is written as a halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 247:2-4). Also, Rav Scheinberg was fond of showing people the words of the Medrash: “A door that is not open to mitzvah (referring to tzedaka) is open to the doctor.” (Yalkut Shimoni, Shir Hashirim 6:992).

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