Kee Tavo 5765-2005

"Contemporary Implications of an Ancient Ritual"

In this week's parasha, we read of the formula of confession that the Israelite farmer of old recited when he redeemed his tithes, declaring that he hasn't given in grief, impurely, or to the dead. While the vast majority of Jews no longer work as farmers, the statement recited by the ancient Israelites is relevant today to those who wish to properly redeem their charity tithes. There is much that may be learned from this ancient ritual.

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Behar-Bechukotai 5762-2002

"The Extraordinary Mitzvah of Tzedaka, Charity"

The word tzedaka that we mention in Parashat Behar does not mean charity, but rather justice and righteousness. It is not an act of charity to be generous, it is the correct thing to do.

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Re’eh 5761-2001

"Charity! The Investment with the Greatest Return"

In this parasha, the Jewish people are told to care for their poor. "Thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut their hand from thy poor brother." Judaism has a rather unique understanding of charity, arguing that the poor person is doing a kindness to the donor, rather than the other way around. It is no wonder that with this deeply ingrained charitable philosophy, the Jewish people have always excelled in charitability. Unfortunately, as Jews move further away from tradition, they have become less and less charitable.

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