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Religious Economics
Community Facebook ^ | 8/14/2020 | Rabbi Yossi Denburg

Posted on 08/15/2020 9:44:33 PM PDT by Phinneous

"May you live in interesting times," is purportedly a Chinese curse and our current reality. The requests for help are relentless. People need groceries, prepared meals, face masks, prayer, physical assistance, spiritual guidance and transportation.

For many, life has changed dramatically. But one thing hasn't changed: religious non-profit are still serving their fellow man. In keeping with social restrictions, tactics have adjusted, but the faithful continue to make life better for those around them. In our own little corner of the world, both Hebrew Academy and Chabad of Coral Springs are distributing food, checking on elderly neighbors and running errands for shut-ins.

Religion has always been vital to our nation. Today, more so. Religion reminds us that while we often act like sinners, we are capable of being saints. Certainly, non-religious people can do good, but historically, it has been the influence of religion that compels man to overcome his self-centered nature and strive to a higher calling.

The Founders understood religion's importance to civil society, placing religious freedom first among our Constitutional rights. Later, Alexis de Tocqueville noted."Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

This generosity lies at the heart of Judaism. Indeed. G-d singled out Abraham. "So that he will direct his children ... to keep the way of the L-rd. by doing what is right and just (tzedakah & mishpat.)"

These two words, defining way of the L-rd, are quite different. Mishpat is the rule of law, through which disputes are settled by right rather than might. Mishpat is binding on all. for Judaism is concerned not only with saving one soul but the salvation of society.

But mishpat alone is insufficient. The law still allows inequality, with some living in palaces while others are homeless . This is not the kind of societal order that Torah dreamed of. So while mishpat is how G-d's law is applied, tzedakah is how His blessings are distributed.

Torah's program of tzedakah is similar to the welfare stale with one significant difference. It does not depend on a state. It is the society envisioned at Sinai, implemented not by government, but by moral responsibility. Tzedakah is thus both an ideal and a reality, an ethical enterprise based on mutual duty.

Needy Americans have been taught to rely on government intervention. The pandemic has exposed the failures and inequities of this system. State unemployment sites crashed, federal aid went to those well-connected, and federal stimulus checks were a one-time-relief. As such, local initiatives have sprung up in neighborhoods across America. Religious aid is rooted in solidarity as opposed to charity.

So far, we have left the word tzedakah untranslated. This is not accidental. Tzedakah cannot be translated because the Hebrew word etymologically joins two opposing concepts, charity and justice

Suppose I give you $100. Either you are entitled to it. or not. If you are, then my act is a form of justice. If you are not, it is an act of charity. In English, charity and justice do not run concurrently. Tzedakah is therefore an unusual term, because it means both.

Tzedakah arises from Judaism's theology, which distinguishes between trustees and owners. Ultimately, all things are owned by G-d. So what we possess, we do not own - we merely hold it in trust for Him to share with others in need.

Economics is not a religious discipline. It is a secular science. Yet. underlying the Jewish passion for economics is a religious imperative, "To be open-handed toward.....the needy." So while charity is an act of love, kindness and compassion, tzedakah, is a duty, a privilege, and an act of justice.

Wealth is not a crime, but a blessing from G-d. One entrusted with material excess should regard himself as Heaven's banker chosen to administer G-d's resources. That is why Jewish law requires every individual to give tzedakah, even one who is himself needy. Because tzedakah is not to remedy the "unfair" distribution between rich and poor, it's the opportunity to become a partner with G-d, and everyone has a share in that endeavor.

Religious institutions open their hearts and doors every day. They remind us that it shouldn't take a crisis for Americans to take care of each other and that life is more than dollars and cents. From the Torah's perspective, life is altruism; life is faith and life is shared with neighbors - a commodity that has no price tag.

TOPICS: Activism; Ecumenism; Judaism; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: charity; justice; mishpat; tzedakah
Weekly message from a community rabbi. He's not hyper political but one can see the beauty of our founding-- and the importance of family, church/synagogue, and community. Self-sufficiency and charity are being partners with G-d.
1 posted on 08/15/2020 9:44:34 PM PDT by Phinneous
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To: Ezekiel

I think you could riff on this a while!

2 posted on 08/15/2020 9:46:22 PM PDT by Phinneous (By the way, there are Seven Laws for you too!
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To: Phinneous

“Page not found” when I hit the link.

3 posted on 08/16/2020 1:52:59 PM PDT by Silentgypsy (Call an addiction hotline and say you're hooked on phonics.)
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To: Silentgypsy

Sorry. I found out later its a private face group group. The entire speech was posted though.

I can try to find another synagogue or website that publishes him.

4 posted on 08/16/2020 2:34:30 PM PDT by Phinneous (By the way, there are Seven Laws for you too!
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To: Phinneous
I think you could riff on this a while!

You're right! It's good to give. 50 is the place of arrival.

America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

Like Joseph who is the living mashal over all the land of dire straits, America is famous for her Dream. The article reminds me about the 50th gate of understanding, because 50 = golden = good = 17, and you can't keep a good man down. 50 = 17 when written in base 43 [גדול].

1. only God can give access to the 50th gate, and
2. the Messiah is at the gates of Rome,

the very place where "L" [אל] = 50. Roman numerals. L = large/gadol.

heart of gold = good-hearted: generous, selfless, magnanimous.. a cheerful giver!

This generosity lies at the heart of Judaism. Indeed. G-d singled out Abraham.

Luz = 43

The essential residue of a human being from which he or she will be recreated in the resurrection of the dead is called the “bone of luez.” Amazingly, in Hebrew the “bone of luez” (עצם הלוז) and “the eye of the needle“ (קוף המחט) have the exact same numerical value, 248, which is also the numerical value of Abraham (אברהם).

Adar: Absurd Dreams Are Really (Good)

[מארה"ב] - same letters as Abraham [אברהם]

There's your man. He shows the way up and out, to the stars. Accept no Limitations because that's an L with imitations latched on for the ride.

Genesis 15
5. And he brought him outside, and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars [ha-kokavim, "5" stars], if you are able to count them; and he said to him, So shall your seed be:
6. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness: [צדקה]

"So shall your seed be" -- 5 stars! The best of the best of the best. Simple meaning.

There's always more, especially about Esther, e.g. how the morning star Venus spins her Hebrew name identity.

L - is for the way you look at me..

L is for Lamed, the "three-stage rocket ship."

5 posted on 08/16/2020 3:38:25 PM PDT by Ezekiel (The pun is mightier than the s-word. Goy to the World!)
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To: Phinneous

Thanks, it’s OK. Usually, a private group appears but doesn’t let you proceed beyond the home page and what the mods want you to see. I thought it got scrubbed.

6 posted on 08/16/2020 5:43:12 PM PDT by Silentgypsy (Call an addiction hotline and say you're hooked on phonics.)
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