Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Giving Generously

The Gemora states that one who gives a present to another gives it away generously (with a favorable eye).

The Pardes Yosef quotes from the Vilna Gaon the following explanation: Hashem promised that He would give Eretz Yisroel to Avraham Avinu’s descendents. Avraham asked Him [Breishis 15:8]: How will I know that I will inherit it?

A righteous person obtains rewards for one of two reasons: either as a reward for his observance of mitzvos, or as a matnas chinam – it is given gratuitously. Something that is given to him as a reward can be negated if he commits a sin, for that nullifies the good actions that he performed. However, that which is given out of the kindness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, cannot be negated by a sin, for it is given gratuitously - with a good eye.

Accordingly, it can be explained that whenever Hashem promised Eretz Yisroel to Avraham Avenue, Avraham thought that it was a matnas chinam, and therefore, he was confident that his descendants will receive it. However, then it was said to him [ibid: 7]: I am Hashem who took you out from the fire at Kasdim. Now that the giving of Eretz Yisroel was dependant on the fact that Avraham threw himself into the furnace, Avraham was concerned that perhaps, he had committed a sin which would negate the mitzvah that he performed. Hashem replied to him that this inheritance will not be nullified for any reason whatsoever, and that is why Hashem said: To your children, I gave the land, for it was regarded as if it was already given to them, for nothing can prevent its happening.