This week’s Torah portion, Re’eh, speaks about a master’s obligation to bestow gifts upon his servant when the latter’s years of servitude are complete. “You shall furnish him liberally from your flocks, and of your threshing-floor, and of your wine press,” the Torah states.
Maimonides classifies this obligation as falling under the category of charity – the gifts are in addition to the regular wages the master is required to pay.
Every facet of the Torah contains stores of wisdom for us to apply to our lives. The above verses are symbolic of the relationship between any two parties not on equal footing: The one on the higher level is always obligated to share his wealth and blessings with those who are less fortunate.
The terms “master” and “servant” may also be applied, in the spiritual sense, to the relationship between teacher and pupil. We see that this is not merely symbolic, as a student is required to serve his teacher in the same way a servant must attend his master. And a teacher’s task is to instruct the pupil until the student grasps the concept on his own.
But what about concepts which are far beyond the ability of the student to comprehend, wisdom beyond the pupil’s understanding? The commandment to bestow gifts above and beyond what is required applies here as well. A good teacher must ensure that his student acquires an appreciation of the deeper and more esoteric knowledge, in addition to the basic requirements of the syllabus. The teacher is obligated to share whatever knowledge he possesses with the student, who possesses less.
This principle also applies to the relationship between Jews who are more knowledgeable about Torah and those who are just beginning to learn about their heritage. It is not sufficient to impart only those Jewish concepts which are viewed as fundamental – the awesome depth and scope of Judaism must be shared as well.
A basic principle in Judaism is that G-d behaves towards man according to man’s actions, measure for measure. When we share our wealth and bestow extra charity – both physical and spiritual – upon our fellow man, G-d responds in kind, granting us an abundance of His blessings.
For we are all G-d’s servants, and He is the ultimate Master. The 6,000 years of creation parallel the six years of servitude a servant must work; the seventh year parallels the freedom and redemption which follow – the Messianic Era and the Final Redemption.
By increasing our love for our fellow Jew and demonstrating that love with concrete actions, G-d will surely bestow an even greater measure of His infinite goodness upon us than ever before, with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.