Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on Poverty and Tzedakah

Posted on August 5, 2011

     Rabbi Chief Lord Jonathan Sacks writes a dvar torah for every parsah which he calls Covenant and Conversation.  This week’s dvar torah on parsha re’eh, is about “Making Poverty History.”  Rabbi Chief Lord Sacks writes, “I know of no saner approach to poverty, welfare and social justice than that of Judaism.  Unsurpassed in its time, it remains the benchmark of a decent society to this day.”  What an amazing statement.  Judaism has many laws about giving to the poor and in a dignified way, along with mandates on how much to give.  “Charity is always voluntary,” he writes.  “Tzedakah is compulsory.  Therefore tzedakah does not mean charity.  The nearest English equivalent is social justice.”  Social justice is something that we here at Areyvut know a lot about and strive to educate others about.  May we all be able to reach out to others in whatever capacity we can and always remember that tzedakah and chesed are inherent in Judaism.

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