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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and Torah Thursday

Thursday, 5 December, 2019 - 11:24 am

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and Torah Thursday!

Who has not been bombarded with emails for this deal or that, this opportunity for giving or that, during these past 7 days?! 

$7.2 Billion online on Black Friday, $9 Billion online on Cyber Monday, and who knows the total of Giving Tuesday.

The prophets of doom will tell us that profits, consumerism, materialism drive the day and that we are on a hopeless spiral downwards.

I believe the opposite is true. We are finally coming to a greater appreciation of what the material world is all about; a reflection of G-d's infinite ability manifest in the most radical expression of that infiniteness - the physical creation, creation ex nihilo or something from nothing!

I'm not saying that every indulgence is a G-dly event or even a spiritual one. I'm saying that the fact that we have been given so much in our times, can potentially be the greatest opportunity for uncovering the G-dliness in this world.

In this week's Torah Portion Jacob goes to Charan. There he marries and amassed great wealth.  The teachings of Chasidus tell us that Jacob was really on a journey to collect the Divine sparks and uncover the G-dliness found in Charan.  

The journey was not an easy one for no meaningful endeavor in life is. But Jacob was successful as the Torah tells us with seemingly great fanfare that Jacob returned having amassed great riches.

When you look at light it is evident that there must be a source to that light.  But when you look at a table, a dollar bill, a tree, or any other physical object there is no evidence that there is a Divine Source.  There is no indicator that what meets the eye requires an energy to sustain it.  So in fact the physical object is almost making the exact opposite statement; "I exist, I am self made".  

The Human Being is an even greater expression of this.  The person with his/her intellect have the ability to understand that there is a Primordial source to their existence, but instead we often go about our business as if we are in control of everything; panicking when things don't go right and celebrating ourselves when they do.

Combine this human condition with every physical object and every physical interaction or acquisition and we have a potential recipe for total denial of G-d.  And yet, when we take those very physical objects and use them out for good and for holiness, we are truly expressing Hashem's greatness on this earth.

This is true of every physical interaction but even more so when it comes to giving of Tzedakah, giving of our hard earned money which we can use to buy our own indulgences and give it away to worthwhile causes.

So don't be a prophet of profit, be a prophet of G-d and see the material opportunities in front of you as opportunities to bring the manifestation of Hashem into this world.

Think about this when you get email #613 this month of December requesting assistance for your favorite non-profit!

Have a great Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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