The Source of Our Blessings

Yael Eckstein  |  January 26, 2022

Drawing of a man with his hands held up to the sky about to make an offering.

Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people. Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. — Exodus 22:28-29

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Mishpatim, which means “laws,” from Exodus 21:1–24:18.

There’s a certain Jewish story that I think illustrates a powerful lesson for all of us. It goes like this: In a certain town, there was a tall building that belonged to a wealthy man. Every Tuesday, at 2 in the afternoon, the man stood on the roof of the building and threw down money. Naturally, each Tuesday at 2, people gathered from all around, and stared at the ground. As soon as the money dropped, they pounced on it, filling their pockets.

But one day, when the people gathered and had their eyes fixed on the ground, eagerly waiting for that first coin to drop, instead of money falling from the sky, rocks and pebbles, and then boulders began to fall! Suddenly, the people stopped staring at the ground and began to look up. Who was on top of the building, and why was he throwing rocks at them?

When money fell from the sky, the people only cared about what came down from the building, but when rocks fell, suddenly they were interested in who was doing the throwing and why.

The lesson for us? When we have everything we need, it’s easy to forget the source of our blessings.

The Source of Our Blessings

In this week’s Torah portion, the Bible teaches us to acknowledge God as the source of our blessings by giving offerings from our crops and the firstborn of our flocks to God. The Bible even tells us to dedicate our firstborn sons to God. (Originally all firstborn males were to serve in the Tabernacle as priests. Later, God transferred that role to the Levites.)

Look at what the Bible says in the verse right before this instruction: “Do not blaspheme Godor curse the ruler of your people. Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.”

While these verses seem specific to biblical times, the underlying lesson is clear and relevant to us today. Blasphemy is the denial of God. By making regular offerings to God from what He has blessed us with, we acknowledge that He, and only He, is the source of all that we have.

Your Turn:

Consider how you can acknowledge God today by making an offering to Him. What has He blessed you with? What offering might you make?