117. "If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd" (Vayikra 1:3). Rabbi Yosi said, What difference does it make WHETHER HE BRINGS a burnt sacrifice of the herd, of the flock or of the birds? If they are the same, why are they separated from each other, seeing that they all become the same thing, NAMELY, A BURNT OFFERING. HE ANSWERS, He who can afford it offers of the herd. If he cannot, HE BRINGS of the flock and if he cannot afford even this, HE SHOULD BRING of the birds. Thus, it is written, "And if he be poor, and his means do not suffice" (Vayikra 14:21), for the Holy One, blessed be He, does not overload on a man that which he cannot bear.
118. Rabbi Elazar said, One should offer in correlation to the sin. The rich man whose heart is proud at times should offer a bullock, for his heart is more bent on sinning before his Master. An average man should bring of the flock, because his spirit is not proud enough to sin. The poor man, whose heart is not proud and whose spirit is humbler than them all, brings the slightest offering; NAMELY, OF THE BIRDS. All of their offerings are acknowledged individually, and the Holy One, blessed be He, judges each one with balanced scales.
119. Rabbi Elazar asked his father, Rabbi Shimon: We heard that for three sins of the world famine comes on the world, NAMELY THE PRIESTLY TITHE ON PRODUCE (HEB. TRUMAH), TITHING, AND SETTING ASIDE A PIECE OF DOUGH FOR THE PRIEST (HEB. CHALAH) THAT THEY DO NOT TAKE. All these sins are common among the rich only, because their hearts are proud, but not common among the poor. What justice is there that the Holy One, blessed be He, kills the poor and lets alone the rich, AS ONLY THE POOR DIE OF HUNGER AND NOT THE RICH? Now THE RICH will continue to sin even more before Him, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT HARMED. He said to him: You have asked well. This was explained by the friends, who said that when the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to avenge Himself on the wicked and cause them to perish from the world, He gives them peace IN THIS WORLD AND fulfills their every wish.
120. Come and see that of all people, none are closer to the highest King than the vessels He uses. What are they? "A broken and contrite heart" (Tehilim 51:19) and "of a contrite and humble spirit" (Yeshayah 57:15). These are the vessels of the King. When there is drought in the world and famine and Judgment become harsh on the poor, they cry and shout to the King. And the Holy One, blessed be He, brings them nearer than any man. Hence, "for He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the poor" (Tehilim 22:25). The Holy One, blessed be He, then remembers why famine has come on the world. Woe to the evil, who brought this famine.
121. When the King is aroused to take care of the world and the sound OF THE CRY of the poor men, may the Merciful save us from them and their shame. It is written, "I will surely hear (lit. 'hearing will I hear') their cry" (Shemot 22:22). It is twice written, "hear;" one is for paying attention to their cry and the other to take revenge on those who caused them to do this. Hence, it also says "that I will hear; for I am gracious" (Ibid. 26) and "My anger shall be inflamed" (Ibid. 23). Therefore, woe to the evil rich when there is famine in the world, for the sound OF THE CRY of the poor men before the Holy One, blessed be He.
122. Come and see: The poor man's offering is the lightest, because his heart is broken. Even if he meditates on sinning, the sin passes from him because his sorrow and the sorrow of his household suffice. Therefore, each and every offering are all individually known to the priest.
123. There is a story of a certain rich man who brought two pigeons before the priest. When the priest saw him, he said to him: This offering is not for you. He came home sad. His brothers said to him: Why are you sad? He said to them: The priest did not sacrifice my offering. They said to him: What was THE OFFERING? He said to them: Two pigeons. They said, But this is for the poor, not for you, as it is written, "And if he be poor, and his means do not suffice" (Vayikra 14:21). But you should bring your own offering. He said to them: What is it? They said to him: A bullock.
124. He said to them: So contemplating sin is so grave THAT A BULLOCK SHOULD BE BROUGHT AS A BURNT OFFERING FOR IT. I vow that no sinful thought shall ever enter my heart. From that time on, what did he do? He occupied himself with commerce by day and slept at night. When he woke from sleep, he called his brothers who taught him the words of the Torah, which he studied until daybreak. He thus became knowledgeable in the study of the Torah. He was called Judah the Other. One day, Rabbi Yesa Saba saw him dividing his possessions, half to the poor and half to sailors to sell on the sea, and then settling down to study the Torah.
125. JUDAH THE OTHER opened the discussion saying, "And Moses said to the Kenites" (I Shmuel 15:6). Who are the Kenites? They are the children of Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, who built their nest (Heb. ken) in the desert like a sparrow in order to study the Torah, as written, "Even the sparrow has found a home (Heb. ken)" (Tehilim 84:4). The Torah has neither need of pleasure nor of merchandise, but one should labor in it night and day. Therefore, they went to the desert away from the pleasures of Jericho. Hence, "the children of the Kenites, Moses' father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees" (Shoftim 1:16).
126. "For You have shown kindness to all the children of Yisrael" (I Shmuel 15:6). He gave delight to Moses in his house and Moses comprised the whole of Yisrael. Then, he also added one portion to the Torah, thus being kind to all Yisrael.