The nuts and bolts of today’s lesson in simple yet hard. This takes self out of it. Or as my teacher Pastor Steve Gray pounds into my head I must die to self. It is put this way by the Rebbe: “The ultimate in holy living, and especially in areas of kindness and charity, is when no one is present – when we exhibit generosity without publicity, purely because it is the right thing to do.1” Likutei Sichot, vol. 1, pp. 171–172.
Yeshua even told us about this very fact in Matthew 6:1-4 “Be careful not to parade your acts of tzedakah in front of people in order to be seen by them! If you do, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So, when you do tzedakah, don’t announce it with trumpets to win people’s praise, like the hypocrites in the synagogues and on the streets. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already! 3 But you, when you do tzedakah, don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Then your tzedakah will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what you do in secret, will reward you.” (Complete Jewish Tanakh.)
“Having concluded His instructions for installing the priests through their special uniforms and installation rites, G‑d taught Moses how to construct the incense Altar. This Altar was placed in the outer chamber of the Tabernacle.
You must make an Altar for burning incense. Exodus 30:1
One reason why the passage about the Inner Altar is placed at the very end of all of the discussions pertaining to the Tabernacle and all that was in it, is in order to indicate that the Inner Altar has a unique status, above and beyond all of the other furnishings of the Tabernacle.
What was different about the Inner Altar was that every other ritual that was performed in the Tabernacle had spectators. When the incense was burned on the Inner Altar, however, there was no one present – only the priest burning it and G‑d Himself. Furthermore, we are taught that it was specifically this private service that caused the Divine Presence to be most felt in the Tabernacle.
This lesson of the incense is very relevant in our modern – and loud – world. The ultimate in holy living, and especially in areas of kindness and charity, is when no one is present – when we exhibit generosity without publicity, purely because it is the right thing to do.1Likutei Sichot, vol. 1, pp. 171–172.
The true act of charity is when you do it and no one sees you do it or knows about it. So, I am learning to do acts of tzedakah and not get caught doing it.