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Running on Jewish Time

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On the Bestowing of Gifts

It's so hard to take.

To take is to admit a lack, a need, a measure of interdependence that our western sense of rugged individuality rebels against.

To be the bountiful benefactor can carry with it a secret huberis,
Yesh li Rav...
...I have more than I can possibly need. (Breshit 39)
here let me give you some. Let me show how much extra I really have.

But if we can be honest enough to admit that
Yesh li kol....
....I have everything I need. Both for myself and both to give.
the least courtesty we could have to acknowledge that all of those around us likewise have something to give and in fact, some of which they have to give might be meant for us.
He who wants to give but does not wish that others should give--he begrudges what belongs to others.
He who wants to give and also that others should give--he is a pious man. (Pirkei Avot 5:16)


  • I always learn something from your blog... great topic!

    Isnt this what love is all about... Hav - giving. Being strong enough to give of yourself and then vulnerable to take anothers love.

    By Blogger FrumGirl, at 10:51 AM, December 18, 2005  

  • That's where I'm headed

    By Blogger Masmida, at 2:27 PM, December 18, 2005  

  • I have no problem receiving gifts. Whenever something unexpected comes my way it's exciting. But nothing beats the thrill of giving a gift..especially when you know that the receiver is going to love it...
    Few pleasures compare..

    By Blogger David_on_the_Lake, at 6:25 PM, December 18, 2005  

  • There is an Israeli expression that I do not like. If they beat you run, if they give you take.

    As a marketing major I know all too well that there is no free meal...

    By Blogger Littleredridinghoodie, at 7:48 PM, December 18, 2005  

  • This must be mussar to me. I think FG nailed it - it's about being "vulnerable". I guess that's one of the reasons I hate receiving gifts. It leaves me totally exposed to the fact that somebody else has the ability to provide something that I want. The fact that I can't view the gift but only the obligation shows that I'm insecure with what I have.

    I guess I'm going to stink at the love game.

    By Blogger Josh, at 8:48 PM, December 18, 2005  

  • hint: love is not a game.

    By Blogger Masmida, at 8:51 PM, December 18, 2005  

  • masmida is right, love isn't, and i do agree it's very important to accept/give gifts because it nurishes the vulnerability that i feel we need to live, and with out people couldn't form a society.

    beautifull post.

    By Blogger Halfnutcase, at 11:11 AM, December 19, 2005  

  • I never thought of receiving as a challenge. I always found that finding a way to give is the bigger problem. I think that it has to do with not wanting to feel dependent or indebted to someone, if that feeling comes with giving or taking it's the feeling we don't like. Love overcomes that. You are able to take without feeling obligated and give without feeling lacking. The love is the excuse, the debt paid somewhat, it is always there to fall back on. Love is the free pass, then the only obligation you have is to continue to love that person. It's the easiest gift to live with and the hardest gift to understand.

    By Blogger araya(uh-ray-uh), at 8:44 PM, December 20, 2005  

  • [smile]
    Thank you for reminding me of that.

    To give to someone is to love them. To take from them is admit that they love you. And as the gifts pass back and forth and the mutaul debt mounts past all counting, that both people acknowledge that the counting no longer matters. and that is where the love begins.

    By Blogger Masmida, at 9:09 PM, December 20, 2005  

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