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Friday, August 10

The Weekly Shtikle - Re'eih

This week's parsha presents the contradiction of the following two pesukim. First we are told (15:4) that with the proper fulfillment of the laws of shemitah as they pertain to loans "there will not be any needy among you." In the very same perek we are told (pasuk 11) "For the needy shall never cease from within the land." Rashi explains homiletically from the Midrash (Sifrei Piska 114) that when we are performing HaShem's will, the needy will be among others and not among us. But when we are not performing HaShem's will, there will be needy among us.

On a more simple level, however, perhaps the contradiction may be reconciled as follows: The first pasuk is indeed giving us an assurance that with the proper performance of the laws of shemitah, poverty will be wiped out from the community. The second pasuk, however, is stated regarding the mitzvah of tzedakah. It is not a prediction of the future. Rather, the Torah is stating a practical fact as a reason why charity is always necessary. You should never say, "someone else will take care of him, he'll make it somehow." The Torah is teaching us a lesson that the poor will never just cease to be. In order to tackle poverty, you must take the initiative and give tzedakah and never rely on someone else to do the job.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka

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