Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tzedakah and Katrina - R' Bleich

a Guest Post by Mar Gavriel

Rabbi Bleich's sermon after Hurricane Katrina:


R. Bleich spoke about the contradiction between the verses אפס כי לא יהיה בך אביון and גי לא יחדל האביון מקרב הארץ. He cited the RAMBA"N's solution to the contradiction, which is that there will always be poor people among the gentiles outside of Eretz Yisrael, but among the Israelites, in Eretz Yisrael, there will not be poor people.

Then, R. Bleich said: When the gentiles encounter their poor people, they will be moved by the sense that they need to do good, and therefore, they will give tzedhŏqŏ. You Jews, when you see the gentiles give tzedhŏqŏ, must emulate them. Every reason that they have to do tzedhŏqŏ-- because it's the morally right thing to do-- you have, as well; plus, you also have another reason, namely that the Torah has commanded you to give tzedhŏqŏ.

When we see how much wonderful good many righteous people among the אומות העולם have done in helping the New Orleanians, we must learn from them, and copy their example. The gentiles are obligated to help the New Orleanians because it's the morally right thing to do; you must do it because it's the right thing to do, and because the Torah commanded it.

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