A program of The Mussar Institute 

Generosity Week
February 21 – 26, 2016

Generosity Week

Generosity Week – Day 2

Shefa Gold: “Increasing the flow of loving-kindness within us”

Please watch Rabbi Gold’s 3-minute video:

Rabbi Shefa Gold's video

In today’s lesson, Rabbi Gold reminds us of the story in Exodus where God asks his people to offer gifts from the heart, to create for him a mikdash (a sanctuary, a holy place) that he might dwell in their midst. The people responded so enthusiastically that they had to be told to stop giving. Their desire was great and they responded with overwhelming generosity.

When God said “Let them make for me a mikdash,” He was also inviting His people to create a holy, sacred place within their hearts – a place where God dwells and manifests ahava rabbah (an abundant love) to be channeled through loving-kindness and generosity.

Being generous frequently becomes most challenging within our closest relationships. Yet it is within those close relationships that the greatest need for loving-kindness and generosity exists. As our personal resources of time, talent, money and especially patience are often spread thin, it is frequently our own loved ones who are shortchanged. How can we increase the flow of loving-kindness within us?

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • How can we connect to this great love every day?
  • What sustains this connection within us?
  • What gets in the way of this connection and obstructs the flow of this great love within us?

By practicing generosity, we strengthen our connection to ahava rabbah and build our generosity muscles. When our connection is open and God’s great love is flowing freely through us, we are open and receptive to doing God’s work in our world. It brings both joy and fulfillment when we open our heart and hand to others.

Here are a few ways for you to focus on ahava rabbah as you build your generosity muscles:

  • Focus on performing simple, small acts of kindness and generosity. Ten small acts of generosity throughout the day will exercise your generosity muscles more often than performing a single large act of generosity.
  • Open your eyes to someone close to you whom you might bless in a special way today simply by being generous with your time – doing something for them, or simply inquiring about their day or circumstances. A call to an elderly friend or family member may be the highlight of their day, and it will take no more of your time than a coffee break.
  • Identify which of your personal resources you are least likely to share – your time, possessions, money – and then choose to be generous with that specific resource this week.
  • Share your responses, experiences and insights on our Facebook page so that we might learn from one another as we build our generosity muscles.