Thanksgiving Day 2019 Message

Here in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day.

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It was originally a day that our first President, George Washington, designated as a day to give thanks for the creation of our National Constitution. Today most people believe it started when the earliest settlers in this country shared their first harvest with the Native Americans who literally saved their lives by showing them how to farm the land.

I believe the most important thing people should be thankful for is the sacrifice that Yeshua (Jesus) made when he allowed himself to be crucified, becoming a substitution for the animal that was to be brought to the temple in Jerusalem.

The Torah states that we can only sacrifice to God where he has placed his name (Deut. 12:14):

Be careful not to offer your burnt offerings just anywhere you see, but do it in the place Adonai will choose in one of your tribal territories; there is where you are to offer your burnt offerings and do everything I order you to do.

When Yeshua rose from the grave, that was proof that his sacrifice was accepted by God, and from that moment on, we were able to receive forgiveness of sin through Yeshua’s sacrifice, which meant that receiving forgiveness was no longer geographically restricted. After the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, only those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah are able to receive forgiveness of sin.

As a Jew, I am exceptionally thankful to Yeshua for what he did for me, as well as the many people God placed in my life, both for good and for evil, who eventually helped me find and accept Yeshua. It is very hard for a Jewish person to accept Yeshua because of what Christianity has done to him. They have removed everything Jewish from him, and modern Christianity is based not on what Yeshua taught, but what Constantine (and all those who followed after him) created. Not to mention how many millions of Jews have been tortured and murdered over the past two millennia, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

We should be thankful for what we have, and not worry about what we don’t have. Sometimes we want more than we really can afford and even though we make ends meet, we find that the sacrifice we have to make to have something, just to have it, isn’t really worth it. Instead of being thankful for that thing, we begin to resent it because of all the other things we might have had.

We should also be thankful for all that we don’t have: if you’re not sure what I mean, think of everyone you know or have heard of with tsouris in their life that you don’t have in your life, and I think you will understand.

The apostle Shaul (Paul) once wrote (Philippians 4:12-13):

I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation— to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. “

He accredited this to finding his needs and strength in the Messiah. That is what we can do, as well.

Finally, just as everything else humans get their grubby little hands on, this day dedicated to thanksgiving has been polluted with sports events, parades, and marketing mania. Instead of being a day we can get together with family to give thanks for so many things, we get together with family, all right, but it’s to watch football and eat until we burst. Maybe there is a general sense of being thankful, but is it real? Are we genuinely taking the time to thank God for all we have? Even if all we have is a little, it is better than nothing, and even those with nothing still have their life and the opportunity to make it better.

As you enjoy your holiday (and yes, the turkey, too), be thankful for all that you have and all that you have yet to receive. Today is for you to appreciate what God has given you, and whether you have a lot or a little, whatever you have is more than someone else has, so be thankful.

One last thought: this holiday is just one day of the year, but we should be thankful every moment of every day, all year long.

I am thankful for you, and appreciate you being here. Please subscribe and share this ministry with others, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

What Others Mean for Bad God Can Change to Good

Please remember to click the SUBSCRIBE button in the right-hand margin, and I will not be doing a video today. However, this will be a short read.

When Jacob died and Joseph’s brothers were concerned that now, with their father dead, Joseph would unleash his revenge on them, Joseph calmed them by saying (Genesis 50:20-21):

You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good. He planned to do what is now being done. He wanted to save many lives.  So then, don’t be afraid. I’ll provide for you and your children.” He calmed their fears. And he spoke in a kind way to them.

When we do what is right in God’s eyes, it is almost always going to seem wrong in the eyes of those who are of the world. And it is because of our righteousness, which is a stench in their nostrils because it has the smell of death (2 Corinthians 2:15-16):

For we are to God the sweet aroma of Messiah among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life.

When we obey God we will be put through trials and persecutions of all kinds: at work, in our home, within our group of friends; and these persecutions may range from being verbally assaulted to being ostracized to being physically attacked. These things are bad things.

If, and when, this happens, won’t we be in the same position Joseph was when he was persecuted by his brothers and sold into slavery?

Those who perform evil deeds against those who are trying to act in accordance with God’s word will never succeed because what anyone determines for evil against the Lord or his children, God will turn to good. Maybe not in our lifetime, maybe not right away, but all that is done to attack God will always result in victory for God.

As Isaiah tells us (Isaiah 54:17):

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LordAnd their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

So when you are being persecuted, when you feel that it just doesn’t seem worth it, when all hope seems to be lost- that’s when you must really knuckle down and keep going. Faithfulness is the way we receive strength when we are totally out of strength, therefore remain faithful even unto death, and whatever evil has been used against you God will turn to good for you and for his glory.

For those of you who are enjoying a time of Thanksgiving today, may it be a blessing to you and those you with whom you are sharing it.

PARASHAH TZAV (COMAND), LEVITICUS 6 – 9

We continue with the instructions regarding the sacrifices (burnt, sin, guilt, peace or thanksgiving, vow, and freewill); we are told the specific steps for the sacrifices and offerings, regarding how each is to be performed and the disposition of the parts of the animals that are to be sacrificed. The parashah ends with the sanctification of Aaron and his sons, inducting them officially into the Priesthood.

Leviticus 7:11-21 specifically deals with the Peace and Thanksgiving offerings. The Chumash states that the Rabbis regard thank offerings as the supreme type of sacrifice, and that in the Messianic Era this will be the only sacrifice that continues, since Messiah will have done away with all sin. Rabbinical thought is that ingratitude is a sin, and reduces a man to something below the level of a dumb animal.

It is interesting to me that in Lev. 7:16-18 God says the flesh of the peace offering must be eaten on the day of the sacrifice- none shall be left over to the next day. However, if this is a vow or freewill offering, then the meat can be eaten on the second day, but after that any left over must be burned. None of the meat from the vow or freewill offering can be eaten on the third day, because if it is then the offering will be refused.

The Talmud says the difference between a vow and a freewill offering is that when a person says they are offering a sacrifice without specifying the animal it is a “vow”, but when you specifically state, “This animal is the one I will sacrifice”, that is a freewill offering.

I find it important to note that if we eat the meat of the vow or freewill offering on the third day, the offering will be rejected and the person doing so will be cut off from the people.

I have written often, and will continue to do so, that salvation is something we can lose. Not that anyone can take it away, but we can reject it.  God is saying, right here in the Torah, that if we sacrifice appropriately it will be received, but if we violate the rules then the sacrifice that was received will be rejected. Not because God is rejecting it for no reason, or because He is reneging on His acceptance, but because we, on our part, have violated the rule and, thereby, invalidated our own sacrifice.

So, all the way back to the first giving of the Law, which Yeshua (Jesus) said He did not change at all (Matthew 5:17), we find that a sacrifice presented to, and accepted by, the Lord can be invalidated by the one offering it even after it has been accepted.

The sacrifice Yeshua made on the day after Passover was for the sin of the world, although the Passover sacrifice that the Torah calls for is not a sin or guilt sacrifice- it fits the rules for the peace offering. The offering that is for the sins of the nation is on Yom Kippur, so Yeshua accomplished the sin offering we need for later (when the final battle is over and we all come to judgment), and the peace offering we need when we come before God with thanks for His mercies (Grace.) His sacrifice was both the Yom Kippur sacrifice (to do away with all sin) and the peace offering (thanksgiving for the Grace God gives), which will be the only sacrifice left when Messiah rules the world. He accomplished two things at once- one for now and the other for later.

As we enter into the (Torah appointed) Jewish New Year and enjoy our Seder this coming Monday evening, let’s not forget what it represents: a peace offering to the Lord. The lamb’s blood was placed on the lentil not to forgive our sins, but to bring us into God’s protective custody. That blood represented our membership in the community of the Holy One of Israel, which is freedom and protection from death. If anyone of the Children of Israel living in Egypt at that time had been foolish enough to save the Passover Seder meat and bring it out with them, I wonder what would have happened to them. Would they have died the moment they ate the (now) abominable thing? Would they have been found out, and rejected from the tribes, left to go back to Egypt or wander forever in the desert, alone?

I don’t know- it is an interesting thought, and my Jewish blood is just boiling to have a heated Midrash with someone about this. Oh well, some other time.

If you have no plans to celebrate this festival, you are really missing out on a chance to experience what the bracelet many people wear says (WWJD) because He most assuredly would not miss having a Seder. And, if you really want to get closer to the way Jesus lived, then starting on Passover evening go the next 7 days without any leavened products at all- no bread, no cake, not even one cookie; skip the Ring Dings and wave “Goodbye” to the Hostess Twinkies (Oy!- what suffering I go through when I can’t eat a Twinkie!) See if you can do it. I confess this is a very hard festival for me to follow correctly, not because I just cannot go without bread (I was only kidding about the Twinkies) but because I forget! I will go to dinner with Donna and forget that I can’t eat pizza on our normal pizza night. I grab a cookie and forget I can’t eat it. I am always “biblically” Kosher, so it is easy to remember because I do it all the time, but to remember to reject one of my favorite groups of foods is hard to do. The lesson here, if nothing else, is that we need to be thinking about obedience every second of every day, and it should be foremost on our minds (…”let them be frontlets before thine eyes…”), always. Donna really helps to keep me in line- thank God for her (in so many ways!)

How about you? Would you observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread? I challenge you to obey this commandment of the Lord because I really believe if you do, at the end of the week you will find yourself receiving a blessing. God promises us blessings for obedience (Deuteronomy 28), so why not get all the blessings you can? I can almost guarantee that not only will you feel closer to Yeshua, God and the Jewish people, but you will feel better about yourself, too.

As people are always saying, “Try it- maybe you’ll like it!”

Parashah Vayikra (He Called) Leviticus 1 – 5

This Shabbat Torah reading begins with the 3rd book of the Torah, Vayikra, or Leviticus.

God tells Moses the rules and procedures for presenting offerings before the Lord. He goes through each type of offering, which animals or substitutes are allowed, and which type of sin the offering is intended to absolve us from.

The 5 main offering are:

  1. Burnt Offering – represents total commitment where the entire animal is used
  2. Grain Offering – this offering can be either grain (never with any leavening) or first fruits. There is a memorial portion that is sacrificed, the rest going to the Cohen. All grain offerings must also include salt.
  3. Peace Offering – This offering is also a thanksgiving offering, and although not stated in this parashah, we are told that the entire animal is not burned and that the parts allowed to be eaten shall be eaten there, in the presence of the Lord (Chapter 22); we are also reminded here that the fat and the blood are the Lord’s and we are never to eat them.
  4. Sin Offering – when someone sins unintentionally and then is made aware of it or realizes it, they must make this offering. This is covered for the entire community, leaders, commoners, and even allows for the poor by allowing lesser items of value to be offered if someone cannot afford the animal from the flock or herd.
  5. Guilt Offering – this seems, at this juncture, to be the same as the sin offering, assuming that the sin was unintentional. As we get further into this chapter we realize that the guilt offering is more for unintentional sins and the sin offering is for sins that were more from volition and forethought than accidental.

These are pretty much cut-and-dried chapters. What I find interesting is that God assumes that the sins we are making restitution for are unintentional. You would think He knew better, right? He sees our heart and knows our thoughts, desires and wants. He just has to understand that we do, often, sin on purpose. Yet, in His forgiving, compassionate way He instructs Moses and the people about restitution for sin by stating that when you sin unintentionally. I can understand one reason why God might take this approach: He’s God! Who would ever expect anyone to purposefully try to piss Him off? Especially after seeing and hearing Him at Mt. Sinai, in all His glory, majesty and awe! Really- who would want to mess with God by sinning on purpose?

I guess the answer to that is: everyone. I mean, that’s what happened, right? Just about everyone sinned; Moses (at Mirabah), Aaron (the golden calf), Miriam (with Aaron, again, in Numbers 12), Dathan, Abiram, Aaron’s oldest sons, the guy who picked up sticks on Shabbat, the people who gathered extra Manna….everyone!

Later on we get more details about the sacrificial system. I think it helps to understand these different sacrifices so that we can better understand the Bible. For instance, when we sacrificed the lamb for Passover it was, by definition, a peace/thanksgiving offering, not a sin offering. Yet, although Yeshua’s sacrificial death was a sin offering, He is called the Pesach Lamb. The Pesach (Passover) lamb was not a sin offering, so why do we call Jesus’s death a peace offering when it was a sin offering?

Good question. I think it might simply be an association without understanding- He died on Passover and the lamb was killed on Passover, ergo: Pesach lamb.

On the other hand, it might be from a deeper understanding of what He did and what it allowed to happen. He died for our sins: clearly, that is a sin sacrifice. However, with His death the parochet (curtain) in the Temple was torn, top to bottom, representing that the separation between God and people was removed. When two beings are separated, then they are allowed to come together, doesn’t that promote peaceful relations?  Isn’t that something we should be thankful for?

Yeshua’s death was more than a sin sacrifice, it was a total sacrifice, a combination of all the offerings in one. His entire body was given up (burnt offering), He was without leaven and His blood was the salt of the covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31 (grain), He was a lamb without blemish (peace) and although sinless, he took on all the sins, known and unknown, of all the people, everywhere and for all time (sin and guilt.)

Understanding the (seemingly) minute details of the sacrificial system help us to understand the broader impact of Yeshua’s sacrifice.

Some things in the Bible seem minute, unimportant and even obsessively recorded, yet there is always purpose in what God has told us. Faithful reading of every word in the Word is worthy of your time and energy- you never know what the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will reveal to you.

Parashah Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6 – 8:36

The prior chapters are addressed to the entire congregation, whereas these next chapters are more specifically to the Priests, describing the way the different sacrifices should be offered, and which portion of the sacrifice is for the Priests, who may eat it, and it ends with the anointing of Aaron and his sons into the Priesthood.

The Sacrificial System was a major part of the lives of the Jewish people. Of the 613 Commandments in Torah, nearly 1/3 deal with the sacrificial system. There are different offerings: a sin offering, a guilt offering, a burnt offering, a peace offering and a thanksgiving offering. The peace offering is considered to be classified in three ways: (1) thanksgiving for deliverance from sickness or danger; (2) fulfillment of a vow made in times of distress; and (3) a free-will offering made when the heart is moved at the remembrance of God’s tender mercies (Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Soncino Edition.)

With the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the sacrificial system came to a halt; more like running into a brick wall! All of a sudden, that was it! One day we can be cleansed from our sin, the next day there is no way for the Jewish people to atone for their sins. Because God decreed that these sacrifices had to be made at the place where He placed His name, when the Temple was destroyed we couldn’t sacrifice as we should, and the Jewish people had an even stronger need for their Messiah. It’s too bad that “Mainstream” Judaism still hasn’t accepted the truth about Yeshua, who is the Messiah and through whom our sins have been forgiven. That is why the Temple was destroyed: the sacrificial system was no longer needed, but since God’s word is like He is- the same today, yesterday and forever- and He declared these sacrifices had to be made at the Temple, by destroying (or more correctly, allowing the destruction of) the Temple He put an end to a system that He said should be forever, without going against His word or changing His mind.

Does this mean that we don’t have to sacrifice anymore? Even though I can’t bring an animal to the Temple and offer it up to the Lord, does that mean I don’t need to perform any kind of sacrifice? When David went to buy the threshing floor in 2 Samuel 24 to stop the plague he caused, when it was all offered free to David, we read, “But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”

Don’t we still have ways to offer to God thanksgiving sacrifices? Can’t we still be moved to wanting to thank him? Don’t we still sin? Yes, Yeshua’s blood covers our sin, but can’t we still live up to the spirit of the law by giving up something that is valuable and desired by us to demonstrate our willingness to obey God’s commandments?

We all sin, and we all will continue to sin. As I have said before, we will never be sinless but we can always sin less, and even though we have our sins forgiven when we ask in the name of Yeshua, is that all we should do? Just say, “Thanks, Yeshua, for dying for me, so that when I ask forgiveness in Your name I am cleansed.”

Nice deal- He suffered, and we get off. Is that really good enough for you?

It’s not good enough for me. I don’t want to just accept all He did for me and do nothing to show my gratitude. And I don’t want to sacrifice something that costs me nothing. Yeshua’s death cost me nothing, but it cost Him everything, and when I sin I feel that I need to do more than just call upon His name. But what can I sacrifice? Where can I go? I don’t even own a goat or a lamb; I have two cats, but they are not acceptable sacrifices (lucky for them, too.)

So, nu? What do I do to show God I want to sacrifice a guilt or a sin offering, and especially a thanksgiving offering (because every day He does so many wonderful things for me?) Wait- didn’t David say he wouldn’t sacrifice anything to the Lord that didn’t cost him anything? Maybe what we can do, if you feel like I do, is sacrifice something that is valuable to us. I am not talking about a special monetary gift towards something that honors God, although that would be something, but let’s give something that is as valuable to us today as a lamb or a goat would have been to the people of Jerusalem in Yeshua’s day and before: let’s give up our time.

Today we work so hard, we commute so many hours a week, and when we get home (at least I know I do) all we want to do is rest. And the weekends are play time. Well, God already tells us to rest on the Shabbat, but that is a commandment we obey anyway (hopefully) so we need to do more than that if we want to make a sacrifice.

Give of your time to something that is “God-honoring.” Maybe volunteer to help with something at your place of worship, or go to a soup kitchen and serve others, or volunteer at an animal hospital (God did tell us that we are to care for His creation, did he not?) or at a human hospital. Do something that takes away from your personal time, or give money if that is more important to you than your time, but offer something up to the Lord as a sacrifice to show Him how much you appreciate what He has done for you, and to honor the sacrifice Yeshua made for you.

Yeshua gave up His divinity, His supremacy, He took off His robes of holiness and put on a mantle of stinking, dirty flesh, then wore it for 30-something years. And finally, He allowed Himself to be humiliated, beaten and tortured to death, all so that you and I can be saved because of our failure to be able to obey the Lord. Don’t you think that if Yeshua was willing to do all that for you that you should do something for Him to show your gratitude?

I volunteer at the Brevard Zoo (with Donna, my wife) and I help out at the place I worship during, before and after services, and I am available to help people there if they need computer work or training. These things take time, and I gladly sacrifice my time because it is an offering to the Lord. I don’t say this to brag or get accolations, but to show you one way in which you can do the same.

God gave up His only son, and that son gave up everything, even to the point of death, just so you can have a chance to enter God’s presence for eternity.

Don’t you think that deserves some thanks? If so, find something that will cost you something and offer it up to the Lord.

giving thanks and asking forgiveness

I read an article somewhere yesterday (I can’t remember where- getting old stinks, although I have to say I have waited my whole life to be this age) that made me think about how God charged us all with stewardship of the world. Starting with  Adam and Eve, God put us in charge of the animals and greenery of the world.

I don’t think we’ve done a very good job, do you?

On this day, when we give thanks to God for all He has provided, let us also just diminish our joy a touch ( a very Jewish thing to do) by also asking His forgiveness for our poor stewardship of His wonderful creation.

Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many diseases? Yes, we live in a cursed world, yadda-yadda-yadda, but God has provided for us. Ask anyone in the medical field, or disease research, whether or not they believe the Amazon Rain Forest is the world’s cornucopia of (still to be discovered) beneficial drugs. They’ll tell you that there are probably natural cures to almost any disease we have somewhere in there.

Unfortunately, we are destroying the rain forest by hundreds of acres, every day! As you watch football today, imagine that entire football field as a dense forest being cut down or burned. Then multiply that by 365, because that’s (at least) how much rain forest is destroyed annually. Now, think of how many trees and bugs there are in that football field forest, and you can begin to feel the enormity of the destruction we are causing.

The cure for cancer, for aids, for sars, for e-bola, and who knows how many other diseases that devastate the world may be in that forest. Now, think of all the animals that God created, for whom He made those trees and bugs, that are dying from starvation or being killed during the deforestation; all of which we are supposed to be protecting and shepherding!

Revelations tells us that the tree of life will bring forth fruit and leaves that cure any disease. Maybe that tree is already there, or any number of trees, bushes or bugs that produce the cure for our current diseases. We may never know.

The good news is that we are getting better. Up to the last 70 or 80 years we pretty much just destroyed everything without any consideration for the future. Now we understand what we are doing to ourselves when we do this to the world. I guess the next step will be to stop this craziness, and I believe we are getting there; we used to run to destroy, but even though many still do that, more and more today we are trying to preserve. Progress is slow, but we are going in the right direction.

Enjoy your day, thank God for all He has provided, and for His ultimate provision- Yeshua Ha Mashiach. And ask forgiveness for not being a good steward, even if you are one of those doing your best. The prophets prayed for the people, and they also took on the responsibility for the failures of the people. All of us are responsible for the world, and if you haven’t done something to protect it, to be a good steward of God’s creation, then get off your butt and get on the ball. Do something to show God your appreciation for all He has done.

It’s one thing to say thank you, it’s another thing to show it! Let’s start to show our appreciation by taking care of the world God gave us.

Enjoy- setz und essen!!

Thank God for what you have by giving it away

That’s right- thank God for what you have by giving it away. Not all of it, but share the blessings you have received with others. That is what God wants us to do, not just as a means of doing Tzedakah (charity) but because He commands us to care for the widows and the orphans. I take this not just literally, but more metaphorically to mean all people in need. If a family has father, mother and children but they are homeless and poor, they are no less important than a widow or orphan with regards to us sharing what we have with them.

I found this answer to a question on a  test I took when attaining my Messianic Minister Certification. I don’t have the exact question, but you can glean from the answer what the question must have been:

    It was expected that anyone living in a town would accommodate strangers (as long as they were Jews) in their own homes. A curtain would be hung from the main doorway as a  “Vacancy” sign would be turned-on in a modern hotel. Sometimes a table would be placed outside to show food was available within that house. The host would attend to the traveler himself, making sure every need was looked to. The host was always to be pleasant, have a happy disposition and be generous with a willing attitude as if he was receiving the Shekinah glory itself. He was to promise little but give much. The traveler was expected to thank the host graciously, ask about his family and stay in the place he was first welcomed into. He should eat whatever was served him gladly, and when leaving to give a blessing to the host and the household.

There is the story of Lot trying to protect the angels coming to Sodom, the story of the man who took in the travelling Levite (the last chapter in Judges), and other references throughout the Tanakh about the generosity and willingness to share with others. God also commanded not to reap the edges of your fields so the gleaners would have something to eat, not to go back and re-reap the trees or vines so that what you missed would be available for the poor, and Yeshua told us we would always have the poor with us: perhaps they are here as a means for us to faithfully follow God’s commandments. If God says to share the blessings He has given us with those in need, doesn’t it make sense that we would always have to have someone in need? If no one is in need, then God gave a commandment we can’t follow- that doesn’t sound right, does it?

As we are (almost) forced to be thankful tomorrow, let’s share what we have with those that have less. Invite someone you know who can’t afford a real dinner to your dinner (and give them a big “doggie bag” when they leave), contribute to your favorite charity, donate to a shelter food or items of clothing (nice stuff!) that you can part with (we can always part with things; really, we can) and think of ways to continue to do Tzedakah after tomorrow.

President Washington declared this a holiday as a means of giving thanks for the Constitution being ratified, and (thank God) it has grown into more. It does force some people to be thankful, even if it is just for a paid day off from work. I guess that’s a start.

God is generous, and not because He expects something back from us, as humans usually do. I mean, really…God owns everything, He can create whatever He wants with a thought, so what can we possibly give Him back He doesn’t already have? That’s how we know, absolutely, that God is not altruistic in giving out blessings, but totally loving and generous. We need to be that way. Giving thanks should be a daily occurrence, and we should not just give thanks but show our thankfulness by sharing that which He has given to us with those that don’t have.

I believe this is a test: God has allowed some to go without so that we, those who have, can demonstrate God in us by sharing, willingly and gladly, with others; the Manual says God loves a cheerful giver, that’s why we need to give to the needy. We need to give to those who can’t pay us back, so there can’t be any thoughts of reciprocity. That’s how God gives- without any thoughts or expectations of receiving anything back but thanks.

If you have never done anything totally out of generosity, you are missing something exceptionally rewarding. You want something back? OK- try this: give what you want to keep to someone who needs it and has nothing to give you back. Then, after you’ve seen their look of appreciation, and how unbelievably happy they became to have what you gave them, tell me that you didn’t cry at the joy your soul felt at that moment.

King David tells us, in the Psalms, to “taste of the Lord and see that He is good.” When you give without any thought of receiving, and you give what is important to you, something you know God has provided to you, that is true Tzedakah. I guarantee when you do this you will feel a joy that will fill your soul and elevate you to a height of spiritual pleasure you won’t ever forget: that’s how giving the way that God gives makes us feel.