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November 23, 1973 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-11-23

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
44—Friday, Nov. 23, 1973

Charity Viewed
in the Midrash

The door which is not open
to a mendicant will have to
open for a physician—Pesikta
Rabbati.
It is narrated that one day
Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai
was walking outside Jerusa-
lem, accompanied by his dis-
ciple, Rabbi Joshua. At the
sight of the Temple in ruins,
Joshua exclaimed: "Woe
to us, for the place where
Israel atoned for its iniqui-
ties is destroyed!" Rabbi
Johanan replied: "Do not
grieve, my son, for ye have
means of atonement which
are equally good — namely,
deeds of mercy. For the
Scripture says: 'I desire
mercy and not sacrifice'."
(Hosea, 6-6.) — Abot d'R
Nathan.
A blind begger accosted
two men walking on the road.
One of the travelers gave
him a coin, but the other
gave him nothing. The Angel
of Death approached them
and said: "He who gave to
the beggar need have no fear
of me for 50 years, but the
other shall speedily die."
"May I not return and give
charity to the beggar?" ask-
ed the condemned man.
"No," replied the Angel of
Death, "a boat is examined
for holes and cracks before
departure, not when it is al-
ready at sea." — Midrash,
quoted in "Meil Zedakah."
Thou shall not harden thy
heart against thy poor broth-
er. If you do not give to him,
in the end you will have to
receive from him.—Sifre on
Deuteronomy.
Bar Kappara was once
walking on the cliff overlook-
ing the sea at Caesarea when
he saw a Roman proconsul
struggling to shore from a
shipwreck. He hastened to aid
the offical, took him home
and gave him food and drink
and also money with which
to go on his way.
Some time afterward, cer-
tain Jews were wrongfully
imprisoned by the provincial
administrator, and knowing
that ' Bar Kappara was in
favor with the Romans, they
gave him a purse of 500 gold
coins with which to appease
the oppressors. On reaching
the capital, Bar Kappara en-
countered the proconsul
whom he had rescued, and
the latter rose up and greeted
him with the words: "Why
have you troubled to come
hither?"
"To beg your mercy for
those Jews," replied the rab-
bi.
"But do you not know,"
said the other, "that the gov-
ernment will do nothing for
nothing?"
"I have brought 500 gold
pieces," answered Bar Kap-
para. "Take them and be
appeased."
Thereupon the official said,
"Keep these 500 gold coins
as a reward for the five
silver pieces you once gave
me, and let those Jews be
set free in return for the food
and drink. And now go home
in peace and honor."
Thus is established the
saying (Eccl. 11:1), "Cast
thy bread upon the waters."
—Ecclesiastes Rabbah.
Better is he who gives
little to charity from money
honestly earned than he who
gives much from wealth gain-
ed through fraud. — Kohelet
Rabbah.

Legend About Moses

J ustice Defined Some Old Tales With Meaning For Today

in the frlidrash

Once the great Alexander
visited a king in an outlying
corner of the world. The king
acted as a magistrate and in-
vited his guest to sit beside
him. Two men came before
the court. One said,"I have
bought a house from this
man, and while repairing it,
atreasure was found. I offer-
ed to return it to him, but he
refuses to accept it." The
other said: "I knew nothing of
the treasure, so it does not
belong to me. Having sold
him the house and lot, the
treasure is his own."
The king said to the first
man, "Have you a son?" The
answer was yes . He asked
the second man, "Have you
a daughter?" Again the an-
swer was yes. "Then," con-
tinued the king, "Let them
marry and keep the treasure
as their dowry."
Alexander smiled and re-
marked: "In our country 'the
law is that the king takes
unto himself whatever is
found."
His host looked at him in
astonishment, and said:
"Does the sun shine in your
land? Does the rain ripen
grain and fruits?"
"Yes," responded Alex-
ander.
Are there beasts in your
land?" the king inquired.
"Yes," answered Alexand-
er.
"Then surely, the sun and
rain come to your land for
the sake of the innocent
beasts; not for the sake of
unjust men. In our land, how-
ever, the sun shines and the
rain descends for the sake of
men, and the beasts receive
their food for our sake."
—Intro. to Tanhuma Buber.
* * *
Rabbi Akiba said that a
court which has pronounced
a sentence of death should
taste nothing all that day,
for the Torah declares "Ye
shall not eat anything with
the blood" (Lev. 19:26—Sifra
"In righteousness shalt
thou judge thy neighbor"
(Lev. 19:15). You must not
let one litigant speak as much
as he wants, and then say
to the other: "Shorten thy
speech." You must let one
stand and make the other
keep his seat.—Sifra.
Let a case involving a
small matter be as important
to you as a case involving
a grave matter. A dispute
over a penny is as important
as a dispute over great
wealth.—Abot d'R. Nathan.
Simeon ben Shetah said:
"When you are judging,
and there come before you
two men, one rich and the
other poor, do not say: 'The
poor man's words are to be
believed, but not the rich
man's words.' Just as you
listen to the words of the
poor man, so listen to the
words of the rich man, for it
is written, 'Ye shall not re-
spect persons in judgment".
(Deut. 1:17.) — Abot d'R
Nathan.
* * *
If there be no officer to
enforce the law, of what
avail is the judge?—Tanhuma
Shofetim.

Rules of Evidence
It is for ordinary minds,
and not for psychoanalysts,
that our rules of evidence
are framed. They have their
source very often in consid-
erations of administrative
convenience, of practical ex-
pediency, and not in rules of
logic. — Benjamin Cardozo.

The Fathers said, "Build
a fence around the Torah"
(Abot, 1:1), for a vineyard
with a fence is safer than
one without a fence. But a
man should guard against
building the fence too high,
for then it may fall in and
crush the plants it is sup-
posed to guard. — Abot d'R.
Nathan, 1:2a.
* * *
Words of Torah are like
golden vessels: the more you
scour and polish them, the
more they glisten and reflect
the face of him who looks
at them. So with the words
of Torah, whenever you re-
peat them, they glisten and
illumine one's face.
Words of Torah are com-
pared to garments of fine
wool which are difficult to
acquire, but easy to tear.
Just so, words of Torah are
hard to learn but easy to
forget. Words of folly, on
the other hand, are like sack-
cloth: easy to buy, but hard
to tear. Just, so, words of
folly are easy to acquire and
hard to lose. — Abot d'R.
Nathan.
* * *
As water is free for all., so
is the Torah free for all. As
water is priceless, so is the
Torah priceless. As water
brings life to the world, so
the Torah brings life to the
world. As man brings a man
out of his uncleanness. so
the Torah brings a man from
the evil way into the good
way. As wine cannot keep
good in vessels of gold and
silver, but only in cheap
earthenware vessels, -so the
words of the Torah keep

Rabbi Sends Nixon
Reassuring Letter

LOS ANGELES — Rabbi
Moshe M. Maggal wrote a
letter of encouragement to
President Nixon enclosing a
Psalm written by King
David "when he was sur-
rounded by a multitude of
enemies and his situation
seemed hopeless." Copies of
the letter were sent to sena-
tors, representatives, the
media and clergymen.
Psalm III reads: " . . . 0
Eternal! How many are my
adversaries become! Many
say about me: 'Even God
cannot help him!' But thou.
0 Eternal, are a shield about
me; You are my glory and
will help me lift up my head
again . . . Because of it, I
am not afraid of tens of
thousands of people, That
have set themselves against
me . . . Arise, 0 God; save
me! For surely You will
smite all my enemies upon
the cheek, and will break the
teeth of my adversaries .•. .
Selah."

While Moses was feeding
good only with him who sought out the local syna- the sheep of his father-in-
makes himself lowly. Like gogue and asked permission law in the wilderness, a
wine, the words of the Torah to deliver a discourse. When young kid ran away. Moses
rejoice the heart. As wine it was seen that he was a followed it until it reached a
grows better by keeping, so greater scholar than anyone ravine, where it found a well
the words of the Law be- in the city, he was appointed to drink from. When Moses
come better as a man grows head of the school, and was reached it, he said, "I did
older. — Sifre Deuteronomy, given a seemly stipend. When not know that you ran away
the scholar departed from
'Ekeb.
because you were thirsty.
*
the synagogue, the most im-
Now you must be weary."
portant
men
of
the
commun-
Rabbi Johanan went for a
He carried the kid back.
walk from Tiberias toward ity accompanied him. The Then God said, "Because
Sepphoris, and Rabbi Hiyya impoverished merchants thou hast shown pity in lead-
ben Abba was at his side. came to him and begged for ing back one of a flock be-
They came to a field, and aid. He secured for them longing to a man, thou shalt
Rabbi Johanan said: "This their passage money home, lead My flock, Israel." —
field was mine, and I sold it and they said to him: "You Shemot, Rabba.
to enable me to study the were right. Our merchandise
Law." They came to a vine- has been lost, but yours en-
yard, then to an olive gar- dures." — Tanhuma to Ter- Threshold for All
Do not be like a large
den, and at each Rabbi Jo- umah.
door, which lets in the wind,
hanan said the same. Rabbi
* *
or a small door, which
Hiyya began to weep. "Why
Commenting on the verse,
do you weep?" asked Rabbi "He who associates with the makes the worthy stoop. In-
Johanan. Rabbi Hiyya re- wise becomes wise" (Prov. stead, be like the threshold
plied: "Because you have 13:20), the Rabbis said: "It on which all are able to
left nothing for your old is like a man who goes into tread, or like a low peg on
which all can hang their be-
age."
a scent shop. Even if he-does
Then Rabbi Johanan said: not buy anything, the sweet longings. — Midrash Tana
"Is it a light thing in your smell clings to his clothes, d'be Eliyahu.
eyes, what I have done? I and does not depart all day."
have sold what was created But concerning the verse,
in six days, and acquired "The companion of fools
what was given in 40 days, shall be destroyed," they
as it is said: 'Moses was said: "If a man goes into a
there with the Lord 40 days tannery, though he buys
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* * *
does not leave him all day
Teach the Law gratis, and long." — Abot d'R. Nathan.
Shandor Godla
take no fee for it: for the
* * *
words of the Law no fee must
If you do not teach the ox
be taken, seeing that God to plow in his youth, it will be Gypsie Orchestra
available for all occasions
gave the Law gratis. He who difficult to teach him when
Except Saturdays
takes a fee for the Law de- he is grown.—Midrash Mish-
VI 6-0767
stroys the world. — Derek le.
Eretz Zuta.
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* * *
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.

Do the words of the Law

for the doing's sake; speak

"for your next affair"
of them for their own sake. •
.
Do not say: "I will learn •

While
you
relax
Tom
Newby
will
create
Torah so that I may be called •
for
your
Bar
Mitzvas,
Weddings,
:
the
MAGIC
wise, or sit in the College, •

Showers and Parties . . .
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Fellowship Grows

NEW YORK (JTA) — A
marked increase in partici-
pation by young Jews and
young married couples in
synagogue worship and
study, particularly through
havurot fellowship groups,
has developed in congrega-
tions affiliated with the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, an official of
the Reform agency reported
here last week. Harry K.
Gutman n, UAHC board
chairman, also told the 100th
anniversary UAHC biennial
convention that the UAHC
camping department has
noted a 30 per cent increase
in year-around program ac-
tivities for young Jews at
the UAHC's eight camps.






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