Terumah

A true gift is impossible. Receiving thanks, or even the knowledge that the gift was given, negates the altruism implied in the gift. Maybe the collective donations to God’s sanctuary, commanded and with no possibility of repayment, are as close as it gets. Still, what to do when I wait for thanks from a beggar or friend, or when volunteering makes me feel good? Give anyway! Give  imperfect reflections of the True Gift; acknowledge the ego, but keep it in its place. Or, from the other direction, enjoy receiving gifts, thankfully and guiltlessly, and let my gifts, when I have the chance, be a continuation of the same flow of plenty. The impossibility of the gift shouldn’t stop us giving.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 25; Mei Hashloach on Teruma;  Given Time by Jacques Derrida; and Eve tendant la pomme by Antonio Allegri (Correggio).]

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