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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

After the completion of the construction of the Tabernacle, the Torah states:

“And Moshe saw all the work and behold, they did it as the Almighty commanded … and Moshe blessed them” (Exodus 39:43).

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin was once at a dedication ceremony for which one rabbi selflessly devoted an extremely large amount of time and energy. When the rabbi spoke, he heaped praise and blessings upon the donors whose contributions made the institution possible.

Rabbi Sorotzkin spoke next and said, “Really the donors should be the ones to praise and bless the rabbi. It was his efforts that enabled them to have the merit of contributing to such a worthwhile cause. However, the rabbi followed in the steps of Moshe. After the complete report of everything that was donated to the Mishkan, (the portable Tabernacle), Moshe blessed all those who participated in the donations and contributions. They should have blessed Moshe for the opportunity he gave them.”

Rabbi Sorotzkin continued, “The same is true when a wealthy person helps a poor person. The wealthy person gains more from the poor person since he gains spiritual merit. However, what usually happens? The receiver expresses more thanks to the giver than the giver does to the receiver.”

When someone approaches us for a contribution for a worthy cause, we should appreciate that he is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to contribute. This is an important concept for people who work for the community to raise funds. They should be aware that they are doing an act of kindness for the donors. At the same time, they need to show their gratitude to the donors. And if the donors — or prospective donors — do not have respect or appreciation for the one making the request (assuming it was made pleasantly and properly), it is the prospective donor who needs to examine his own character and values.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony