Has someone you know recently emailed you from their overseas vacation pleading for assistance after being mugged? Have you received a phone call from a tax agent warning you of impending dire consequences? Get any mail from a remote foreign country? Today’s common scammers may be tech savvy, but they are simply modern versions of ancient swindlers.

“Our Rabbis taught: If a man pretends to have a blind eye, a swollen belly or a shrunken leg, he will not pass out from this world before actually coming into such a condition. If a man accepts
charity and is not in need of it, his end [will be that] he will not pass out of the world before he comes to such a condition” (Talmud Ketubot 68a).

While we may not be able to see exactly how this comes to pass – sadly, too many dishonest people seem to get away with fraud and deception – it is a solid warning against these vile actions. Pretending to be in need is not only an outright act of theft, but it also undermines society by creating constant distrust. Those who are normally open-hearted and generous feel as if they are constantly being taken advantage of and may become hesitant and start to question the integrity of those who are truly in need.

Although the Torah does not support any particular socio-political ideology (like communism or socialism), the Torah society is based on people helping one another whenever the need is genuine.

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