In this week’s Torah portion the Mitzvah of tithing is given. All grains, grapes and oils that are produced in one’s field are to be tithed and one tenth is given to the Levites and on some years another tenth to the poor. Our Sages determined that the same would apply with the income that one earns that at least a tenth must be contributed to the poor and unfortunate.
The Hebrew word for tithing is closely related to the word for wealth. The Sages extrapolated that G-d guarantees that if one tithes he becomes wealthy! Although this in meant in a literal sense, we can also explain that this is in a spiritual sense as well. When a person is benevolent he produces spiritual wealth which he will be able to capitalize on in the World To Come.
The Talmud recounts an incident with a fabulously wealthy king who would distribute his wealth liberally. When asked how he can so casually give away the fortune that his fathers labored to amass he answered to the effect that he was the only one who would benefit (spiritually from his wealth.
In our times there was a very rich man who single-handedly supported Torah institutions. Unfortunately, in his old age he lost all his wealth (as well as 3 of his daughters to iillness). At the next dinner to benefit those institutions he got up and announced,”You see before you a man who has nothing. The only wealth remaining is the support that I’ve given to this institution as other charities! I appeal to you. Do yourselves a favor and contribute.” To this donor, the meaning of wealth was spiritual merit and he never regretted his benevolence!
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav