Weekly Pre-Shabbos D’var Torah from Rabbi Gutstein

D’Var Torah:

The Parsha discusses sacrifices that a person donates to the Bais Hamikdash. A person can donate cattle, sheep, birds or flour. The Torah provides the instructions as to how they are to be offered. Each one is acceptable as a sacrifice. But, how can an offering of flour be considered just as good as an offering of cattle – cattle obviously costs more and takes more of an effort to bring to the Bais Hamikdash?

Rabbi Wein related the following story about the Kotzker Rebbe –Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morginstern. He would accept visitors who came to discuss matters with him and seek his blessing. One time, a Torah scholar came to discuss Torah with him. The Kotzker Rebbe saw him for about two minutes and then dismissed him. Then, a farmer came to see him. The Kotzker Rebbe spent about fifteen minutes talking with the farmer.

Afterwards, the Kotzker Rebbe’s students were puzzled. So, they asked him, “Why did you give the farmer so much time, while the Torah scholar you dismissed so quickly?”

The Kotzker Rebbe explained, “The Torah scholar came to show off to me the Torah that he knows. I don’t have time for showoffs. However, the farmer came to me to ask for a blessing that his cow should provide plenty of milk and he meant it. For him I have time.”

The Torah teaches us that a wealthier person donates cattle. One not as well-to-do donates sheep. A person who has a lower income offers a bird, while a poor person offers flour. Yet, the Torah looks at them all in a favorable light because each person gives according to his means. The poor person cannot afford a large animal or even a bird. But, he wants to do something for G-d. His heart is pointed in the right direction. So, he gives with the same, if not more, effort that wealthier person. $10 worth of flour to the poor person is equal to – or more than – $1000 worth of cattle to the wealthier person. The Torah indicates this through use of the word “Nefesh -soul” which is written only by the offering of the poor person because he puts his entire soul into his sacrifice.

The Torah is teaching us is that it is not the quantity that matters. Rather, it is the quality that matters. The end does not justify the means. Rather it is the means to the end which is important. As the Rabbis state, “Whether one gives more or less, as long as his heart is directed towards Heaven.” In other words – it is mind over matter.