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    Giving what you can – B’ha’alot’cha

    The Torah offers a strange juxtaposition, the kindling of the menorah and the offerings of the princes.

    To understand the link between them we have to remind ourselves that, thank God, there always were and are princes, people well endowed and prepared to contribute lavishly to good causes.

    But circumstances have not placed gold and silver in everybody’s hands. Those without material means have to find other ways to prove their loyalty. For them significant monetary gifts are not possible, though everyone should still give something.

    Their contribution is symbolised by the menorah; their task is to be a light that lights up the darkness.

    This they do by supporting people whose steps are faltering, by a smile and a nice word for those who are depressed, by personal service when a job of work needs to be done for the community… and by loyalty and dependability when others are tempted to let the leader down.

    A good example is the person who said, “I cannot give much to the synagogue appeal ­ but whenever a minyan is needed, I’ll be there!”

    (Though there is a problem if you are a prince and you try to get by with a non-princely contribution. A certain man once remained in the synagogue after the Kol Nidrei service in order to sit up all night and say T’hillim. The rabbi told him, “That’s not for you. Leave the T’hillim to others: you go home, get a good night’s sleep and resolve to give much more charity in the future!”)

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