Throwback to this past Erev Yom Kippur! You can view the full-size, full-color, graphic-design format of this article with parental consent on Instagram (CLICK HERE).
Q.) Have you ever performed or heard of “bet lekach” on Yom Kippur Eve?
The sweet, old Jewish custom is to request a piece of cake. Basically, if (חו”ש) one is decreed to be on the receiving-end of another mortal’s generosity, this ‘begging’ should suffice, since, ultimately, G-d Almighty is the One Who provides all our needs.
When our assistance is sought and we have wealth to share (e.g. money, material goods, time, or our energies and talents as humans and as Jews), take lekach’s example and give freely.
Q.) What is your unique, G-d-given wealth?
When a Jew helps one in need, he must know that they both benefit; in fact, it’s his privilege, as through his giving, he represents G-d (Who is merciful and generous).
As the cliche (or truism?) goes, when we give, we actually receive more. Contemplate this, and realize how even the giver is, in fact, a humble receiver himself! Wealth (of any kind) is not our own, rather we are simply vessels for G-d’s blessing, which He grants with the intent we pass it onwards. When He sees His gifts being used well, it arouses His desire to give us more, to continue our mission to increase goodness in the world around us (and make it welcoming for G-d)!
I like to envision this dynamic as a cycle: Being a giver positions you as a receiver, and being a receiver empowers you to be a giver!
As a bonus, the attitude of ambassadorship imbues one’s giving with an elevated merit.
Q.) How can you contribute to your environment (family, community, world)? Or, to start, who is one person you can help and uplift?
One’s generosity must also extend globally in a way it will stimulate and further humanity’s adherence to the 7 Noahide Laws, incumbent on us to uphold a world of Divine morality.
As we each are given our unique abilities for our unique purpose, when we unite our respective talents, resources and know-how we can expand our activities and accomplish more! One example is the age-old partnership of Torah scholars and businesspeople to found institutions disseminating Torah and bolstering Jewish life.
Q.) Who can you team up with to increase goodness in someone’s life?
So, the essential message of the lekach is that we’re each on a mission to help others. It’s why our Divine soul is incarnated, for in heaven it is lofty, yet limited. The Baal Shem Tov taught that a soul may descend to this world and live 70, 80 years, just to do another person a material favor, how much more so a spiritual one!
In merit of our giving ‘on G-d’s behalf,’ so to speak, He will give us a piece of ‘spiritual lekach’ by sealing us for a good and sweet year!
And may we merit the principal blessing of the arrival of Moshiach with the final and universal Redemption – next year in Jerusalem (if not sooner)!