I work as a case coordinator in a psychiatric group home. In December, a couple who live a few houses down from the home paid a visit asking us if they could give an offering of gifts for the clients.
Yeshua is a unique case study for moderation. On the one hand, he is fairly extreme. This is the man who taught his disciples to leave behind everything and follow him.
Sh'vil HaZahav שְבִיל הַזָהַב, the golden middle or mean path, is the Hebrew concept of moderation. And a famous quote to help us with this middah is:
"Keep a mid course between two extremes." – Ovid (43 BCE–18 CE), Roman poet
Once upon a time, a father and a son went to sell their old horse in the market. While they were on their way to the market, a group of people commented, “We have never seen such idiots in our life. In spite of having a horse, you are walking!” They both thought about it and sat on the horse.
Another group of people came and said, “How cruel you are! You both are sitting on this poor old horse. Have some mercy on it.” They both thought about it, and the son sat on it while the father started walking.
Again, another group came across and said to the son, “What kind of young lad are you? You are enjoying a ride on this horse, while your old father has to walk in this hot weather.” The son started walking and made his father sit on the horse.
Another group came across and said to the father, “What kind of father are you? Your little son is walking and you are enjoying yourself on this horse.” Both father and son became so upset that they carried the horse on their shoulders. Then all the people started laughing at them. Finally, they got rid of that horse by throwing it into a river.
An older man is driving down the freeway and his car phone rings. When he answers, he hears his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on route 290. Please be careful!" "Tell me about it!" says Herman. "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!!!"
The middah of adaptability is fundamental to existence; it is characteristic of God Himself.
For centuries, the Sages puzzled over the question of how anything besides God can exist. Is God not present everywhere in all His power? Where is the “space” for a material creation in such a universe? Also, how can human beings have their own thoughts when God is everywhere and pervasively present even within His mind?
It is rather incredible to think of all the ways in which God “adapts” in order for us to perceive and know him. He provides us with different modes of communication and interaction over time as he watches us change.
When people think of generosity, they usually think of gift giving, especially during the winter holidays. The focus is on what you give and what you get.