Dvar Torah Terumah 6 5766- 2006 דבר תורה תרומה

The Sidra begins by instructing the people to give their contributions needed to build the MISHKAN. This Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah is a major concept in Jewish practice.

There is a very interesting story told about a Rabbi who went to ask one of his wealthy followers for money to help a poor relative of this rich man. He got a negative reply. The wealthy man claimed that this relative was a very distant one and he is not responsible to help him.

The Rabbi asked, “Do you pray three times daily?” The man answered of course he does. “How do you start the Amida?” he asked. The man answered: ELOKEY AVRAHAM, ELOKEY YITZHAK VE’ELOKEY YAAKOV”. He answered. The Rabbi said, “You ask to be helped in the ZECHUT of the forefathers who lived thousands of years ago because they are your distant relatives. Your relative that I am asking you to help is much closer. How can you turn him down?” Naturally the man then helped him according the Rabbi’s bidding.

Our hand should be extended to everyone in need according to our means. Yet our Chachamim tell us that there is an order of preference. (Yoreh De’ah 247) The closer a person is to you the more reason you should give him before others. In the language of Chazal: ANIYEY IRCHA KODMIM, “the poor of your city precede the poor of another city”. (B.M. 71a)

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