Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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Jail for Giving Charity

via Lma’an Yishme’u

The Roman emperor Tornos Rufus asked Rebbi Akiva, "If HaShem truly loves the poor, why does He not provide them with parnasa?" "To save us from gehinnom," replied Rebbi Akiva. The emperor countered, "On the contrary, giving tzedaka should send you there! Suppose a king imprisons his servant and commands that he not be served food or drink. If someone would disregard the king's bidding and give the prisoner food, wouldn't he get angry?!"

Rebbi Akiva explained, "Imagine a king imprisons his own son and commands that no food or drink be given to him, but despite his command someone brings the prince some sustenance. When the king hears about this, wouldn't he send this man a gift? Similarly, we are HaShem's children..."

(בבא בתרא י ע"א)

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