Page 2 - AnnouncementsforFRIDAY Aug 26
P. 2

26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                                     Shabbat Announcements Re’eh 5782

         know to whom he gives and the recipient does not know   the Grace after Meals, when we say, “We beseech You,
         from whom he takes. This exemplifies doing a good    God our Lord, let us not be in need of the gifts of men
         deed for its own sake. One example was the Hall of   or of their loans, but only of Your helping hand so that
         Secrecy in the Temple, where the righteous would place   we may not be put to shame nor humiliated for ever
         their gift clandestinely and where poor people from   and ever.”
         noble families could come and secretly help themselves
         to aid. Close to this is dropping money in a charity box.   The greatest act of tzedakah is one that allows the
                                                              individual to become self-sufficient. The highest form of
         One step lower is where the giver knows to whom he   charity is one that enables the individual to dispense
         gives, but the poor person does not know from whom   with charity. From the point of view of the giver, this is
         he receives. Thus the great Sages would go and       one of the least financially demanding forms of giving.
         secretly put money into poor people’s doorways.      It may not cost him anything at all. But from the point
                                                              of view of the recipient, it is the most dignifying,
         A step lower is the case where the poor person knows   because it removes the shame of receiving.
         from whom he is taking, but the giver does not known
         to whom he is giving. Thus the great Sages would tie   Humanitarian relief is essential in the short-term, but in
         coins in their scarves, which they would fling over their   the long-run, job creation and economic policies that
         shoulders, so that the poor could help themselves    promote full employment are more important. One
         without suffering shame.                             detail of Jewish law is particularly noteworthy: even a
                                                              person dependent on tzedakah must himself or herself
         Lower than this, is where someone gives the poor     give tzedakah. On the face of it, the rule is absurd. Why
         person a gift before he asks.                        give X enough money so that he can give to Y? Giving
                                                              to Y directly is more logical and efficient. What the
         Lower still is one who gives only after the poor person   rabbis understood, however, is that giving is an
         asks.                                                essential part of human dignity. The rabbinic insistence
                                                              that the community provide the poor with enough
         Lower than this is one who gives less than is fitting, but   money so that they themselves can give is a profound
         does so with a friendly countenance.                 insight into the human condition.

         The lowest level is one who gives ungraciously.      Jewry has had many distinguished economists, from
         Mattenot Ani’im 10:7-14                              David Ricardo (whom Keynes called the greatest mind
                                                              that ever addressed itself to economics), to John von
         This exquisitely calibrated ethic is shot through with   Neumann (a physicist who, in his spare time, invented
         psychological insight. What matters is not only how   Game Theory), to Paul Samuelson, Milton Friedman and
         much you give, but also how you do so. Anonymity in   Alan Greenspan. They have won an astonishing 38% of
         the giving of aid is essential to dignity. The poor must   Nobel prizes in the field. Why should this have been so?
         not be embarrassed. The rich must not be allowed to   Perhaps because Jews have long known that economics
         feel superior. We give, not to take pride in our     is one of the fundamental determinants of a society;
         generosity, still less to emphasise the dependency of   that economic systems are not written into the
         others, but because we belong to a covenant of human   structure of the universe, but are constructed by human
         solidarity, and because that is what God wants us to do,   beings and can be changed by human beings; and thus
         honouring the trust through which he has temporarily   that poverty is not a fact of nature but can be
         lent us wealth in the first place.                   alleviated, minimized, reduced.

         Especially noteworthy is Maimonides’ insistence that   Economics is not a religious discipline. It is a secular art
         giving somebody a job, or the means to start a       and science. Yet, deeply underlying the Jewish passion
         business, is the highest charity of all. What is     for economics is a religious imperative: “There will
         humiliating about poverty is dependence itself: the   always be poor people in the land. Therefore I
         feeling of being beholden to others.                 command you to be open-handed toward your brothers
                                                              and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
         One of the sharpest expressions of this is to be found in  GNS’s August School Supply Chesed Collection was a
                                                              great success to benefit the children & families from Chai
                             Great Neck Synagogue             We thank the Shusterman’s and Siegel’s for being the drop
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023   off homes for this Chesed collection. We thank all of you
                                  516-487-6100                who dropped off School supplies which will help so many
                                                              children. Chai Lifeline was thrilled to receive all the school
                       Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi             supplies and told us they know it will definitely make the
                  Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus       children happy and make things much easier for their
                         Yitzy Spinner, Cantor                parents and families!
                  Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus      Thank you to all those who contributed!!
          Rabbi Dr. Michael & Zehava Atlas, Youth Rabbi & Director   To contact the clergy or office staff please use the
                    Mark Twersky, Executive Director          following information:
                   Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director       Rabbi Polakoff:
                        Daniel Aharon, President              Chazzan Spinner:
                 Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board       Mark Twersky:
                                                              Jim Frisch:
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7