Tuesday, August 13, 2013

why Judaism opposes Obama's "spread the wealth" socialism

Rambam in hilchote matanoyt laevyonim has rules vs giving too much tzedakah also work requirements for the poor and the condemnation of dependency if avoidable Torah laws and much of talmud is based on rules governing private property splitting the baby in Solomon is seen as stupidity most kids start learning the baba's in talmud with 2 grab a tallis and both claim it is mine, key question is to whom does it belong REALITY trillions of dollars and 50 years after LBJ Great Society massive transfers of wealth to poor, we have accomplished 5 generations of welfare moms, 80% unwed teen mother births in ghetto, destruction of the Black family, record poverty and food stamps under Obama. liberals say they care about the poor but their programs destroy the poor that's why rambam #1 on tzeddakah hit parade is get a man a job a chabad guy What is Judaism's economic system? Is there one? I would describe it as "capitalism with a conscience." In promoting free enterprise, the Torah is clearly capitalistic. But it is a conditional capitalism, and certainly a compassionate capitalism. Winston Churchill once said, "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent vice of communism is the equal sharing of miseries." So Judaism introduced an open market system where the sharing of blessings was not left to chance or wishful thinking but was made mandatory. Our Parshah gives us a classic example. Shemittah, the sabbatical year, was designed to allow the land to rest and regenerate. Six years the land would be worked, but on the seventh year it would rest and lie fallow. The agricultural cycle in the Holy Land imposed strict rules and regulations on the owner of the land. No planting, no pruning, no agricultural work whatsoever in the seventh year--and whatever grew by itself would be "ownerless" and there for the taking for all. The owner could take some, but so could his workers, friends and neighbors. The landowner, in his own land, would have no more right than the stranger. For six years you own the property, but on the seventh you enjoy no special claims. This is but one of many examples of Judaism's "capitalism with a conscience." There are many other legislated obligations to the poor--not optional extras, not even pious recommendations but clear mandatory contributions to the less fortunate. The ten percent tithes as well as the obligation to leave to the poor the unharvested corners of one's field, the gleanings, and the forgotten sheaves are all part of the system of compassionate capitalism. Judaism thus presents an economic system which boasts the best of both worlds--the advantages of an unfettered, free market allowing personal expression and success relative to hard work without the drawbacks of corporate greed. If the land belongs to G-d then we have no exclusive ownership over it. G-d bestows His blessings upon us but, clearly, the deal is that we must share. Without Torah law, capitalism fails. Unbridled ambition and the lust for money and power lead to monopolies and conglomerates that leave no room for the next guy and widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The sabbatical year is one of many checks and balances that keep our capitalism kosher and kind. Some people are too business-like. Everything is measured and exact. Business is business. If I invited you for Shabbat, then I won't repeat the invitation until you reciprocate first. If you gave my son $50 for his Bar Mitzvah then that is exactly what I will give your son. We should be softer, more flexible, not so hard, tough and business-like. By all means, be a capitalist, but be a kosher capitalist. What a person is "worth" financially should be irrelevant to the respect you accord to him. Retain the traditional Jewish characteristics of kindness, compassion, tzedokah and chesed, generosity of spirit, heart--and pocket. May you make lots of money and encourage G-d to keep showering you with His blessings by sharing it generously with others.

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