Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
Rav Yosef Gikatilia - Earth, Water, Or Air, Three Attitudes Towards Gift Giving
The Sefer HaMashalim by the Rishon Rav Yosef Gikatilia compares different attitudes of people who give gifts.  The stingy person is like earth.  When he gives a gift he immediately sees the hole in his own possessions created from the gift he gave to another and he cries over it.  He compares this to a certain worm who eats earth.  The worm does not eat as much as it needs because every time it eats it sees the hole created in the place of the earth he ate.  He is worried that one day he will run out of food.

Some people are happy to give gifts but later regret it.  They are compared to water.  When you pour water from your bottle for someone else, the waterline remains intact without any ditches in it.  However later when he looks at the bottle from far, he realizes that the level of the water has gone down and then he feels regret over giving the gift. 

The generous giver is like air.  He immediately realizes that he has given away something but it doesn't stop him from giving, nor does he regret it later.  He does not see any hole nor does he see a noticeable difference in his level of wealth.  It is like taking air from one bottle and putting some of it in another.  There is less air in the first bottle but no one sees or feel the difference.