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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 2, 2009 / 6 Adar 5769

Funds and fundamentals

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. I'd like to give charity, but I'm afraid I might end up in need myself. Does this show a lack of faith in the Divine's providence?


A. Your thinking seems to go something like this: Normally, even if I have enough for ongoing needs, I would want to accumulate some reserves for unforeseen needs. If G-d commands me to give charity with my spare money instead, He must be promising that misfortune will not strike. So your worries about what setback the future may bring are compounded by your concern that maybe your faith is not whole.


There are two answers to your question. The first, which we will discuss this week, is that Jewish law acknowledges that setting some money aside for unexpected needs, within measure, can also be considered an essential expense. (Next week we will give an additional approach.) Here is an important source for this rule:


The Shulchan Aruch (authoritative Code of Jewish law) states that eminent Torah scholars are exempt from many communal levies. Even if the Torah scholar has to work for a living and can't devote all his time to study, he is considered to be devoting all his free time to learning as long as he works only "enough for his livelihood, and not in order to enrich himself." (1)


The highly authoritative commentary of Rabbi Shabsai Rapaport states that "enough for his livelihood" includes putting some money aside for emergencies. "It is obvious that various mishaps can occur suddenly to a person, such as illness and others, which will require him to make large outlays, and there is no set limit to these."


Of course this approach can be taken too far, and no person would give charity. The Talmud also tells us:


Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: Anyone who has bread in his basket and asks, "What will I eat tomorrow?", that person is of small faith. (2)


However, putting aside a certain amount for predictable emergencies (as Rabbi Rapaport explains) does not indicate a lack of faith but is rather part of our everyday responsibility to provide for household needs.


The great recent sage Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was asked a similar question regarding insurance. Someone asked him if buying insurance didn't display a lack of faith in G-d's providence. Rabbi Feinstein replied:


Insurance is just like any other matter of commerce and the like that one does for a livelihood for himself and his children . . . And if a person wants to leave for his old age or for a legacy, he needs G-d to provide him with whatever is the most effective way according to accepted ways in the same way he would provided for by a miracle, which he may not merit and also is not appropriate [since a person should strive to support himself by natural and not supernatural means.] And since G-d gave us the wisdom in recent generations to provide us with the insurance business in the world . . . this is a good and appropriate thing even for good G-d-fearing people who trust only in G-d, for it is He Who gave us the thought to provide for ourselves, and buying insurance is also the counsel of G-d, to buy insurance and to trust in G-d that he will be able to continue to pay the premium. (3)


Your desire to put a little money aside for possible urgent needs is perfectly legitimate. Trust in G-d's providence doesn't mean that we don't need to earn a living or put aside money for future needs; it means that we trust in Him to give us the ability to do so. However, we shouldn't be save up money for mere speculative future needs if this prevents comes at the expense of giving a suitable amount of charity for quite urgent needs of others.


SOURCES: (1) Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Dean 253:2 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Sota 48b. (3) Responsa Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim II:111

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.

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