Week of 1 Av - 8 Av 5761 / July 22 - 28, 2001
Kiddushin 76 - 82; Issue #389
The Virtue of VulnerabilityThe requirement for a kohen to check into the ancestry of the woman he wishes to marry — to ascertain that there is nothing in her family history to disqualify her as a marriage partner — is suspended in the case where there were charity wardens in her family. The background for this is the power of these wardens, appointed by the community to collect charity assessments imposed on members of the community, to enforce their collection by confiscating property from reluctant individuals even at such a tense time as erev Shabbat. This would inevitably bring them into conflict with these individuals and would have led to their being humiliated with the mention of any family blemish. If such vulnerability never led to exposure, it is a guarantee that there were no skeletons in the family closet.
Merits and Livelihood
Rabbi Meir declared:
One should always teach his son a clean and simple trade and pray to He who is the source of all wealth and property, for there is no trade which cannot lead to poverty and wealth; for poverty and wealth are not determined by trade alone but rather by merit.
Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar declared:
I have never seen a deer drying fruit, a lion porter, or a fox shopkeeper and they are all provided with their food without pain. They were created only to serve me and I was created to serve my Master. If those who were created to serve me are provided with their livelihood without pain then certainly I, who was created to serve my Master, should be provided with my livelihood without pain — but I have corrupted my actions and complicated my livelihood.