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Spare Some Change: Understanding Sacrifices

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Waiting outside my friend’s house one Saturday night, I met his father coming home from Shul. “Are you waiting for someone?” he kindly asked.

“I’m okay,” I said. “Your son will be out in a minute; he needs to give me something.”

“I thought you were waiting for Moshiach,” he said with a smile.

“Moshiach lives here?” I asked like a wise guy.

This short conversation taught me a life long lesson as he calmly replied: “Moshiach lives where you let him in!”

* * *

What is it? Democrats and Republicans base their campaigns and build their careers around it. Conservative talk show hosts increase their ratings by making persuasive arguments one way, while liberal media editors sell papers by exploiting the other. Kings and nobles thrive on it, and citizens rebel because of it. Western civilizations try to bridge the gap, while third world countries run on these divisions.

It is the sociological division of rich and poor. That’s right! Focusing more on monetary factors than human character, people tend to differentiate between these two groups.

Western civilizations try to bridge the gap, while third world countries run on these divisions
But G-d! After all, are the rich and poor not all the same?

"Hath not they both eyes? Hath not they both hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Are they not hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer? If you prick them do they not bleed? If you poison them do they not die? If you tickle them do they not laugh?"

If they do something wrong is it not a sin?

Of course the poor man will plead not guilty, for what was he to do: his life is so impoverished he must take extreme measures and do desperate things at times.

The rich man has all of life’s necessities and them some. So what will he claim? Well he need not claim. He hires a dream team of lawyers who will do all the pleading for him.

"He gives so much charity and helps so many people, why focus on the small petty things he has done wrong?" "He has had so many encounters with such a variety of people; do you expect him to remain perfectly pure?" "He didn’t do it! It is a false accusation construed by his rivals or people jealous of his wealth." These are just some of the defense claims I can think of, and I am not even rich, nor do I belong to a team that dreams.

But between you, me and G-d, that is all a load of rubbish. Between you and me we know, from personal experience I might add, that every person can come up with a long list of reasons why we are really innocent. And as for G-d, He of course knows the inner thoughts and feelings of each one of us, so there is obviously no deceiving him.

Why then do we find that G-d designated different offerings for the different economic classes of transgressors? Some must offer a sheep, while others will suffice with two doves and yet others can bring a bowl of flour!


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Yom Kippur » Repentance
Mitzvot » Holy Temple Mitzvot
History » The Holy Temples » Holy Temple Mitzvot

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Moshiach
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Shul
(Yiddish) Synagogue.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.