CHOOSE LIFE

And it is written: העדתי בכם היום את-השמים ואת-הארץ החיים והמות נתתי לפניך הברכה והקללה ובחרת בחיים Haidoti vachem hayom et-hashamayim veet-haarets hachayim vehamavet natati lefaneicha haberacha vehaklala uvacharta bachayim, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life etc.” (Devarim 30:19, Nitzavim). Now, the prophet says: כי הלבישני בגדי-ישע מעיל צדקה Ki hilbishani bigdei-yesha meil tzedaka, “For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Avraham avinu was the prototype of chesed/kindness, of giving tzedakah. He was the moral pillar the world stood on. His life was one of caring and giving tzedakah* for others, and that in turn raised and enlivened him to incredible levels. Thus Hashem considered all his righteous acts as pure tzedakah (ref. Bereshit 15:6) and endowed him with a spiritual meil tzedakah: a holy robe of righteousness to crown the “fullness of his years” (ref. Bereshit 25:8). In atbash, מעיל צדקה “robe of righteousness” has the same gematria as חיי אברהם “Avraham’s life”. Truly, tzedakah is life! Furthermore, בחרת בחיים vacharta bachayim, “Choose life”, has gematria atbash of 814. This is the same as the milui (“spelling out”) gematria of G-d’s Name Sha-dai (shin-yud-nun, dalet-lamed-tav, yud-vav-dalet, or [300+10+50] + [4+30+400] + [10+6+4] = 814). The Name Shad-dai also corresponds to a level in Divinity called the Shekhinah (“Divine Presence”). When the person gives tzedakah he literally chooses life, for he becomes directly connected to the the Shekhinah, the Source of all life in the universe. And so it was with Avraham avinu**, and so it can be with anyone, amen.

* In all truth this is not a word best translated from Hebrew as “charity”, but as justice. When we help someone with tzedakah, we are in fact making use of the “robe of righteousness/justice”.
** In the first contact Hashem made with Avraham (Bereshit 15:1), the Torah uses the Holy Name Sha-dai/Almighty (see also Zohar 88b, Lech Lecha).