The intimate Jewish relationship with G‑d is expressed in the idea that G‑d Himself keeps the laws of the Torah. The Sages tell us they are called "G‑d's laws" because not only do they come from G‑d, but they are also kept by G‑d.1 This teaching helps a person understand more clearly how closely we are connected with the Divine at every step of our lives. The Zohar states: "G‑d, the Jewish people and the Torah are one." This applies in many ways. The teaching that, so to speak, both we and G‑d keep the laws of the Torah helps us understand that we are truly bonded together.

The Sedra2 presents us with many laws, most of them concerning relationships with other people. One of them tells us about lending money to the poor. "If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you..." (22:24). The Sages of the Talmud comment that the word 'if' is not to be taken literally. There is a duty and a requirement to lend money to the needy person.

This is a central concept in traditional Jewish society. In many communities today, there are interest-free loan funds. A loan helps an individual or a family deal with the constant pressures of life.

How does G‑d Himself keep this law? He 'lends' each of us everything we have. Our physical bodies, our skills and talents, our minds and intelligence, our homes, our possessions. This is a Divine loan which we are able to enjoy – yet we also have to repay it.

And how do we pay back the loan? By using all that G‑d has given us in order to fulfill His objective: to make this world into a dwelling for the Divine, through keeping the laws of the Torah.

There are two types of loan. If you borrow someone's watch, you have to give the same watch back to its owner. The borrower never truly possesses the watch. However, if you borrow money, you do not have to give back the same banknotes, just the equivalent. The original banknotes become fully the property of the borrower.

G‑d's loan to us is of the second type. Everything that G‑d gives becomes ours: our physical selves, our skills, our minds and our possessions. Yet - ideally - we deliberately use all of this in every aspect of our lives for a sacred purpose, guided by the teachings of the Torah.3 In this way we repay the Divine loan, or at least we try to. Someone might ask: "How much do you owe?" Answer: "Everything!"