The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 17 May 2003 / 15 Iyyar 5763

Givers and Takers

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The generosity of Jews towards their needy brothers reaches its peak at Pesach time. Millions of dollars in cash and grocery items were distributed to needy families in Israel by charitable organizations and municipalities.

One organization made its appeal for funds by featuring on television the heart-wrenching tale of a giver turned taker. A businessman showed viewers ten years worth of receipts for over 10,000 Shekels in monthly donations he gave to a local food aid organization. Viewers then saw film footage of this same fellow standing in line to receive aid from that same organization after his thriving business collapsed and left him with debts.

People who heard this story could not help seeing it as a vindication of the Talmudic comparison of charity to a wheel with givers sometimes becoming takers.

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