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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states: “And you shall command the Children of Israel that they bring to you pure pressed olive oil for illumination to keep the lamp constantly burning” (Exodus 27:20).

The Midrash comments on this verse that the Almighty does not really need the light, but you should nonetheless make a light for Him just as He makes light for you. The Midrash gives the analogy of a blind person and a person who could see walking together. The person with sight led the blind person the entire way. When they came to their destination the sighted person told the blind person to make a light. “I want you to do this,” he said, “so you will not feel a debt of gratitude for all that I have done for you. Now you have done something for me in return.”

There are many ulterior motives a person can have when he does favours for others. The ultimate in doing kindness is to do it without any expectations for something in return — and to do the kindness in a manner that does not make the other person feel obligated. This Midrash should be our guide when we do a favour for another person. Our attitude should be totally to help someone.

Many people feel strong resentment towards people who do not show any gratitude for what they have done for them. While a person should feel gratitude, one who does kindnesses for others for the sake of doing kindness will be free of any negative feelings towards someone who does not reciprocate or express gratitude. Moreover, an elevated person will go out of his way to make the person receiving his kindness feel free of any obligations towards him.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony