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Charity

Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

In Leviticus and Numbers, ma’aser (tithing) refers to a Temple tax; in Deuteronomy, however, it refers either to what must be brought and consumed on a pilgrimage festival or to charity. This dichotomy led the rabbis to design the cumbersome system of the first and second tithes (maaser rishon and maaser sheni).

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Eating from Your Neighbor’s Field

Deuteronomy gives broad permission to eat your fill from a neighbor’s vineyard and grain field, so long as you don’t gather in a vessel or cut with an implement. Famously, the disciples of Jesus gather grain on the Sabbath, earning the Pharisees’ wrath not for theft but for violating Shabbat. Commentators debate the reason for this law and whether it has any limits.

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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Gleanings for the Poor – Justice, Not Charity

The agricultural allocations for the poor outlined in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are a series of negative commandments, in which God forbids Israelite householders from gathering some of their produce and requires them to leave it for the poor. The rabbis took these laws a step further, granting the poor property rights over the allocations even before they are gathered.

Dr.

Gregg E. Gardner

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Not Signing Off on Sacrifices

The Hidden Message of the Opening Verses of Kedoshim

Rabbi

Uzi Weingarten

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