Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jewish Vs. Goyish? Link

I am trying to figure out if this is a Jewish vs. Goyish thing or it is specifically Trump.

I have known countless extremely wealthy people. They all seem to downplay their wealth. Things are ALWAYS difficult. Prices are high, expenses are big, pressures are intense and things are rough!! After all of the taxes and tuitions and tzdakas they are left with barely enough to get by. Just the other day I innocently asked a retired wealthy guy whether he still has his hand in investements or if he is completely out of business and he pretended that he has no investments. He has no investments like I have no cells in my body. But it is just a "thing" to present yourself as not having heavy money at your disposal even when you do.

Trump, on the other hand, spent months trying to convince the world that he was FAAAAAARRRRR richer than anyone thought.

My theory? Some Yidden are just modest. But many others are afraid that if they admit to being rich then those גבאי צדקה and the like will harrass them and then they will give more away than they want to. Trump, on the other hand, doesn't care how many people ask him for money. He doesn't have a Yiddishe Neshama that feels a strong moral obligation to help others so he can boast about his wealth.

It is just a theory and I take no responsibility for it's validity. Maybe Trump is really a super generous guy and maybe all of the "poor" rich Yidden are just modest or spiritually oriented so they don't like to admit their wealth.

The Last Edge Harvested

One form of assistance which the Torah mandates to be given to the needy is the mitzvah of pei'ah. The farmer must leave over a corner (pei'ah) of his field for the poor.

“When you reap your land’s harvest, do not completely harvest the corners of your fields. ... Leave them for the poor and the stranger.” (Lev. 19:9-10)

The Sages stressed that the area left over for the poor must be the very last edge harvested. One may not set aside a section at the start or in the middle of the harvesting process. Why not? By requiring pei'ah to be the final section of the field that was harvested, the Torah establishes a set time for the poor to claim their portion. The Talmud (Shabbat 23a) notes that this provision prevents four potential problems:

Stealing from the poor. The landowner could set aside the pei'ah at some pre-arranged hour, in order to make sure the corner produce will go to friends or relatives instead of the needy.

Lost time. The needy will not need to hang around the field, waiting until the moment the owner arbitrarily decides to declare a section of his field to be pei'ah.

Unwarranted suspicions. People might not know that the farmer set aside his pei'ah earlier, and suspect him of not fulfilling the mitzvah.

Swindlers. Unscrupulous farmers could claim they set aside pei'ah earlier, when they never did so.

Rav Kook wrote that these four concerns clarify the Torah’s views on charity.

Moral Duty

The very phrase, “stealing from the poor,” is instructive. Helping the needy is not simply a matter of generosity. It is a social and moral obligation. The Hebrew word for charity (tzedakah) comes from the root tzedek, meaning justice. One who refuses to assist the poor does not just lack the quality of generosity. He is a thief, stealing from what rightfully belongs to others!

In general, the existence of poverty in the world should not be looked upon as a purely negative phenomenon. There are many purposes to poverty, including its contribution to our spiritual growth.

Empathy for the Poor

If we only emphasize the obligatory aspect of tzedakah, we are concentrating solely on the donor’s standpoint and overlooking the needs of the one receiving. This mitzvah also requires an attitude of generosity and kindness. We need to have empathy for the needy and their troubles. For this reason, the Torah expresses concern for the poor person’s time and his sense of self-respect. He should not have to wait until the owner finally decides to provide him with produce from the pei'ah.

In short, the foundation of Jewish charity is duty. But an attitude of empathy and understanding is also necessary to fully attain the goal of tzedakah .

Social Obligation

Social mores can serve to protect the weak and the destitute. Some people give because they are embarrassed to be seen as stingy and uncaring. In addition, society honors generous donors and benefactors.

The first two aspects mentioned, our moral obligation and the need to develop empathy, comprise the internal incentive to help the poor. Only taking these aspects into account, however, minimizes the contribution of social pressure to encourage people to support the needy. One who is fully aware of the importance of charity does not require this external motivation. Not everyone, however, achieves this level of enlightenment. For the good of society as a whole, the Torah affirms the importance of social obligations to give and help others. With regard to the mitzvah of pei'ah, this is expressed by our concern that society may unjustly place suspicions on those who in fact did set aside pei'ah.

Stopping Swindlers

The fourth problem — closing off a potential loophole for swindlers — only applies to the lowest, most corrupt segments of society. Nonetheless, this is a sufficient reason to obligate all members of society. An organic unity exists within society. People are influenced by one another, and an enlightened individual cannot claim to be impervious to the overall moral decay that such a loophole might bring about in society’s lower elements.

(ravkooktorah - Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. III, pp.74-75)

Listen to this.

And see here.

What can I say sweet friends - we should all be zocheh to have what to give, to give big time. to give with joy and to help change other people's lives for the better:-)!!