‘Test Me in This’August 24, 2022 - 12:00 am
This Devotional's Hebrew Word
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. — Deuteronomy 14:22
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Re’eh, which means “see,” from Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17.
Are we allowed to test God? Well, actually, right there in the Bible we see that there is one way that we absolutely are.
In fact, God Himself tells us that we should test him: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10).
Lev Leviev is a Jewish businessman who gives millions every year to charity. When asked about the source of his success, here’s what he said: “I’m a very big believer in the idea that if we set aside tithes or a fifth of our income, as it is written, then the Holy One, blessed be he, pays us back. I know that from my personal experience. The more I give every year, the more I have.”
‘Test Me in This’
The truth is that we first read about the power of tithing in this week’s Torah portion: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”
In Hebrew, the opening words of this verse are aser ta’aser, literally “tithe, you shall tithe.” The verb is repeated, which usually means the Bible is emphasizing the importance of the commandment.
The verse could have just said, aser — “set aside a tenth.” Because of the repetition of the verb, it is translated “Be sure to set aside a tenth.” But the truth is that every commandment in the Bible is important, so why did the Bible use an extra word that doesn’t add any new information?
The rabbis in the Talmud explained that the Hebrew letters that spell ta’aser, the repeated verb, also can spell te’asher, which means “you will become wealthy.”
Based on this alternate way of reading this extra word, the Jewish sages taught that God was teaching us that if we are careful to tithe, He will bless us with wealth. And I have to tell you, I have personally seen so many stories like Lev Leviev’s, about people who have tithed for charity and have seen a great increase in God’s blessings in their lives. As God Himself said, “Test me in this.”
Your turn: Trust in God’s promises and give your tithe to the sacred work of IFCJ Canada today