Yehudah was doing his homework when the doorbell rang. It was Ephraim, his neighbor.

“Hello, Yehudah,” said Ephraim. “I was wondering if I could borrow your bike for a short while. My mother needs some milk from the store and my bike has a flat tire.”

“Sure,” replied Yehudah. “Please wait a minute and I’ll give it to you. I just want to finish the sentence I was in the middle of writing.”

Ephraim winced. “I could take it myself,” he said softly. He had seen the bike propped up against the side entrance and it was unchained. If Yehudah heard him, he showed no sign of it. In a few minutes, he closed his notebook and went out with Ephraim. He steered his bike around to face the street. “Here, Ephraim, you’re welcome to use my bike.”

* * *

Is there a better way for Yehudah to share what he has with others?

We can help him by pointing out a mitzvah in this week’s parshah and looking into Rashi’s commentary.

Among the many mitzvos in Parshas Emor are the mitzvos of giving tzedakah from the produce in the field. The Torah teaches us that when a Jew reaps the harvest of his field, he should leave a corner untouched. When he ties the sheaves of grain into bundles, he should leave the few that fall. And when he collects the bundles, if a bundle is forgotten, he should leave that, too. This is all left for poor people to come and gather.

These are the mitzvos of peah, leket and shichichah.

But actually, the Torah has already told us about these mitzvos in last week’s parshah — Kedoshim. Why are these mitzvos repeated here?

Rashi teaches us that mentioning these mitzvos here helps us learn more about how to fulfill them. In Parshas Kedoshim, we learned that we must leave part of the harvest in the field for poor people. In Parshas Emor, Rashi says, we learn something new. From the words “You shall leave them for the poor person and the stranger.” we learn that a person should not go out and give the forgotten bundle or fallen sheaves to the poor person. He should allow the poor person to enter his field and collect it by himself.

Why? Wouldn’t it be nice to go out there and help the poor people by handing them the produce?

Sure, it’s nice — but for whom? How do you think Yehudah felt when he handed Ephraim his bike? Yehudah probably felt good, because it makes a person feel proud of himself when he gives to others. But how did Ephraim feel? Wouldn’t he have felt more comfortable if he had been allowed to take the bike himself?

The Torah is teaching us that the proper way to fulfill the mitzvos of peah, leket and shichichah is to share with others wholeheartedly, thinking about the poor person’s feelings and not about our own desire to feel good.

Rashi teaches us that fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah with care can train a person to work on his middos and change his habits. Our sages say that fulfilling the mitzvos in this way is so praiseworthy that it is considered as if we have built the Beis HaMikdash and offered all the sacrifices.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XII, p. 264)