Mazeltov to Jonathan son of Jeffrey and Avril Forman on the occasion of his engagement to Shira daughter of Yehuda and Ruth Amar    Mazeltov to Stanton and Belinda Roux on the birth of a son and mazeltov to grandparents Lester and Carol Chadwick    Condolences to Esther Blacher on the passing of her husband, Bennie Blacher    Mazeltov to Gary and Debbie Stein on the birth of twin grandchildren and mazeltov to parents Dijon and Roxi Stein.    Mazeltov to Sedley and Sylvia Shewitz on the birth of a grandson and to parents Rafi and Keren Kotler    Mazeltov to Ricky and Faye Joseph on the birth of a son and mazeltov to grandparents Michael and Cheryl Joseph.    Mazeltov to Barney and Brenda Treger on the birth of a granddaughter and mazeltov to parents Daniel and Dani Treger

Home » The Shul Connection » Two Dvivrei Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Two Dvivrei Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Two Dvivrei Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

1) The Torah states: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord, your G-d, you and your son, and your daughter and your servant and your maid, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the convert, and the orphan and the widow that are in your midst” (Deut. 16:11).

Rashi cites a Midrash which points out that in this verse we have a list of four members of a person’s household: his son, his daughter, servant and maid. We also have four that are needy: the Levite, convert, orphan and widow. The Almighty says, “If you take care of My four, I will take care of your four.” We learn from here that by helping the needy we merit that our needs are taken care of as well; the Almighty responds to us measure for measure.

2) The Torah states regarding helping the poor: “You shall surely open your hand unto him and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need which he lacks” (Deut 15:8).

What are the details of this commandment?

We are told that we must give charity to a poor person. What if the person doesn’t want to take it? Rashi, the great commentator, tells us to then give the person the money as a present or a loan.

It is a positive commandment to give charity to the needy with happiness and a good heart. The mitzvah of giving Tzedakah does not only apply to giving aid to the poor. To aid a wealthy person when he needs assistance is also a fulfillment of the mitzvah of Tzedakah. Furthermore, whenever you give pleasure to others, whether it be through money, food, or comforting words, you fulfill this mitzvah. The Rambam writes that he never saw or heard of a city in which there lived ten Jews that did not have a charity fund (Hilchos Matnos Aniyim 9:3).

The word the Sages used for charity is Tzedakah, which literally means “righteousness” or “justice.” This term illuminates the Torah’s concept of charity. It is not merely a charitable act to give to the poor; it is the obligation of every single person to do the right thing, the just thing.

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