Being a Nefesh by Michael Winner/3/10/2022 The war in the Ukraine is bringing interesting questions to Israel. So far, Israel has accepted several thousand Ukrainians and are expected to bring in a few more. A vast majority of those are not Jewish and don't consider themselves Jewish. My wife also saw this past week, that according to the Israeli government, 42% of those who made Aliyah in the past year were not Jewish. So, this raises a big question in how Israel defines itself as a "Jewish" country, and will continue to stoke the flames of the famous non-Jewish question: Who is Jewish? (The Torah gives us this definition, but, alas...)As mentioned before, the city that I live in has a very large Russian/Ukrainian population. Given that at least 50% of Russian/Ukrainians are not Jewish, country wide, I assume, we have a larger non-Jewish population. And every frum, Russian speaker who I know here has said to me: "You have no idea what these people are saying about you as you walk pass them. They have no idea I speak Russian, and the lowliness of their language and hatred that they have for you…". I've heard this from every Russian speaker that I know.While nobody supports Putin in this war, I've heard from several frum Ukrainians that they fear that there will be a growth in the non-Jewish Ukrainian population. Based off what they went through while living in the Ukraine, and what they have seen (and heard) while living amongst them in Israel, they have no interest in seeing more come in.For the frum world, we know what makes a person a Jew and what makes something Jewish. But for the State of Israel who does not look to the Torah for the definition of Jewish… they are going to have an interesting time figuring that out. Unfortunately, it will have a huge affect on all Jews around the world."Any individual (nefesh) that brings a mincha (flour) offering to Hashem" (Vayikra 2: 1)On this pasuk, Rashi notes that regarding any other 'donation offerings', only by the one who brings a mincha (flour) offering, is referred to as a 'nefesh' (compared to somebody who brings an animal). And as we know, a 'nefesh' is more of a spiritual name, referring to the soul.Why is he called 'nefesh'? Well… who brings a mere flour offering? Somebody who cannot afford to bring an animal. And which type of offering are we speaking about? A donation offering, something that somebody brings willingly on his own.A rich man can come to the Beis HaMikdash, bring a nice, plumb cow, donate a few extra shekels to the Beis HaMikdash, and in the end, he won't "feel" anything. Not "feel" as in spiritually, but physically… he doesn’t give anything of himself, since he can afford what he brings.A poor man on the other hand, can't afford anything, yet he wants to bring something. So, he brings what he can barely afford, flour. He's taking something which is very dear to him and offering it as a 'gift' to Hashem. Since he is 'sacrificing' himself for Hashem, Hashem looks at this person as one who is literally sacrificing himself. Therefore, he gets the 'spiritual name' of nefesh.Nowadays, obviously, we don't have a Beis HaMikdash. However, the concepts still apply to our every day life. We can approach our Judaism as a rich man gives away a cow… "Here's your cow, Hashem", "Here's your Torah, Hashem". He's giving something, but… it's still missing his nefesh. Or, we can approach Judaism as a poor man does, "I don't have much (time, money, etc…), but whatever I can give, wherever I can push myself, I'll do"A person who comes home after a long day of work, and still goes for thirty or sixty minutes to learn, each and every day, come what may… he is offering a part of himself. A person who learns in kollel, but not giving in and speaking to friends and taking many "much-needed" coffee breaks, is offering a part of himself. A mother, who finds time to daven a little, despite everything going on at home, is offering a part of herself.When we give something of ourselves, Hashem looks as if we gave our entire lives.With that, I leave you wish a wonderful Shabbos!