Sunday, May 25, 2014

Restoring the Displaced

By giving away what does not belong to me, I can receive what does belong to me.

There are two kinds of giving away, kindness and sacrifice. Kindness is the giving away we do gladly. It’s voluntary, as it pertains to what we innately sense belongs to others and should be shared. In contrast, sacrifice is coerced, often amidst suffering. It’s forced, as the giver is (often justifiably) under the illusion of ownership.

Whether with sacrifice or kindness, the goal is the same. The Creator made the cosmos in such a way that most of creation, whether physical or spiritual, is temporarily displaced. Most of everything is in a temporary state of exile. By giving something away, we either move it along towards its rightful place or at least closer to that goal line.

Simultaneously with giving, we set off a couple of dynamics which help us receive either what does belong to us or at least something more closely resembling it:

1. The giving creates a vacuum, which can now be filled with something new - something that belongs.

2.  The giving sets the cosmos in motion. The giver spins the cosmic wheel of fortune. When in motion, items seek their optimal destinations. They seek home. Sometimes they get there, sometimes they get closer.

The Torah teaches us that a portion of what we receive is really someone else’s portion. Hence, tithes, as some of what we’re given really belongs to the Temple, the Priests, the Levites, the needy, the soil of Israel, etc. We’ve just been made the messengers to participate in moving these items either home or closer to home.

This does not mean, Oy’ we worked for what really is not ours. Indeed, we worked for our own portion. However, in such a case, the compensation needs to be moved along towards us by first giving away what belongs elsewhere. Only then do we receive our true compensation.

Similarly, with sacrifices, we’re given a portion that belongs to the four archangels of the divine chariot. They are also known as the four holy animals. These portions might be sitting right in our flock or stable. Alternatively, they might need to be purchased. When brought on the altar, what belongs to the angels transcends in sacrificial flames. Again, this sets the cosmos in motion and what truly belongs to us can be sent in the right direction. In fact, during the sacrifice, the angels too let go of what’s not theirs in order to make room to receive what’s rightfully theirs - contributing towards a dynamic of cosmic motion. That’s part of how both humanity and the angels get blessed.

A basic lesson emerges from this teaching. Today, much of the Biblical system of tithing and sacrificing remains pending. However, the ideas behinds this system are still alive and well in other forms; like feeding, clothing and sheltering the needy or giving personal time to sympathize with the broken hearted, etc.

Therefore, if a person feels displaced from his/her life portion, give, give, give ... both with sacrifice and kindness. There’s a significant chance that what truly belongs will come along, as vacuums for blessing are created and the cosmos gets constantly set into motion...again and again. Hoarding what belongs to others (even unknowingly), blocks the opening of one’s vessel to receive what rightfully belongs. By giving away the cap, one opens the vessel.


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