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In this week’s Torah portion the Lord gives us His mitzvot on how to take care of the poor. The Torah describes the situation for someone who has found themselves to be in trouble financially. In the worst case, a person may sell himself to someone in order to pay off his debt. The selling of one’s self into the service of another, the way the Torah describes this, the person is to remain as a respected part of the community and he has the opportunity to earn his way out of poverty. The Torah tells us that when one must sell himself in this way, he is not selling his rights to “Life, Liberty, Justice, and the pursuit of Happiness” (a well known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence). We are commanded to not to look down on someone who is in this situation, but to help him to gain an increase, illustrated in the command not to charge interest to a fellow Israelite or to the poor, for the purpose of allowing him to get himself out of debt. Yeshua stated “The poor you will always have with you” (John 12:8). If we consider the context, Yeshua was actually advocating generosity and action as a Chasidim (Righteous person) to eradicate poverty, rather than throwing the hands-up-in-the-air with a shoulder-shrugging type of apathy saying there is no use…

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