December 5, 2012 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #607272
I and others have noticed a tendency that poorer yidden often are big tzadikim while richer people often are much less so. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. And some will mention such-and-such gvir is a tzadik gamur while kach vkach uni was a rasha gamur. No doubt. But by and large there is a strong correlation between wealth and tzidkus.
What do you attribute this inverse effect between wealth and tzidkus to? I believe it relates to the fact that wealth allows more time and opportunity to sin. And monetary matters and dealings distracts one from focusing on Torah.December 5, 2012 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm #910843
just my hapenceParticipant
You’re clearly trying to be provocative. Is this your version of fun?December 5, 2012 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #910844
I disagree. whether you are rich or poor,you have Nisyonos and wealth has nothing to do with that. Wealthy people do not necessarily have time in the abundance and poor people have Just as equally if not more opportunities to sin…these tzaddikim worked on themselves to become that way and there are many who have had the opportunity to become wealthy and they didn’t grab it because they have no desire for materialism. Wealth has nothing do to with it. no matter how ii is (legally) acquired.December 5, 2012 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #910845
Torah was much stronger in Lita, where the yidden were overall poor, than in Germany and Hungary, where the yidden were overall more wealthy.December 5, 2012 9:20 pm at 9:20 pm #910846
If someone is rich in money, and a tsaddik, they will spend the money is appropriate ways and perhaps use the money to find more leisure time to do mitzvos – and will no longer be rich.December 5, 2012 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #910847
If.December 5, 2012 9:52 pm at 9:52 pm #910848
Did you ever notice that people like to demonize rich people while idolizing poor people?
Shmoel, you sound like a Democrat.
I think there might be some jealousy involved here.December 6, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am #910849December 6, 2012 1:44 am at 1:44 am #910850
The best is “Torah UGedula Bmakom Echad”
Like Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi.December 6, 2012 1:53 am at 1:53 am #910851
“I and others have noticed a tendency”
Stop talking lashon hara with your buddies and stop judging others.
Everyone has their own nisayon; focus on yours and not everyone else’s.December 6, 2012 2:33 am at 2:33 am #910852
Liberation Theology is to be found right in the Torah itself.
We do express a preferential option for the poor, and the Gra believed that wisdom resides among the poor.
Tehillim 37:11 says that the poor will inherit the earth, and Sukkah 29b says that among the 4 things for which someone’s property should be confiscated are gasut haruach and mistreatment of the poor, and the pasul from tehilim is there cited.
Immediately following this is a discussion of lulav hagazul.
This indicates that we hold ethics and social justice in high regard, right alongside ritual obligations.December 6, 2012 3:21 am at 3:21 am #910853
Tehillim 37:11 says –
All Israel are meek- pushed and shoved (and worse) around. And everyone is enjoying the benefits of our avoda. Rich or poor, all Jews are meek or humble.
Hashem determines one’s income for poor or rich and whenever that changes. It is His Will.December 6, 2012 7:40 am at 7:40 am #910854
Our tradition teaches that the oppressed, the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden will inherit the earth.
That is what is meant by a preferential option.
Even ma’asu habonim is another example of this.
And I see this as applying to both Klal Yisrael, and to all who have experienced pain and rejection in their lives in this world.December 6, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm #910855
They say that someone asked the K’tzos why in yeshivos they learn his chiddushim on choshen mishpat and not the nesivos. He answered that when he wrote his chiddushim, the ink in his pen was frozen because it was so cold in his house. The toil he went through was greater in that aspect than the nesivos’, who was rich and never had that issue.
This story shows that a poor person will have greater zchusim for doing the same mitzvah with much more tza’ar, though it doesn’t validate what the OP is implying, that rich people are Reshaim.December 6, 2012 1:13 pm at 1:13 pm #910856
I think that the nisayon of being rich is just a harder nisayon than being poor. The Noam Elimelech puts the higher tzaddik as the one who can eat l’shem shomayim than the one who fasts. When you have no food it’s easier to be an anav (a side effect of being detitute) and work on your bitachon (a side effect of never knowing if you will make it through the day/month). But when you’re rich everyone shows you kavod and you naturally think you already have all your needs. That’s a much greater nisayon.December 6, 2012 1:28 pm at 1:28 pm #910857
To mythoughts: You sound like a Republican. You did not state whether you agree or disagree with the OP’s observation. I personally do not trust personal observations about other people’s money or tzaddikdik.
I believe that independent studies of the general population (i.e., mostly gentiles) generally find that wealthy people donate smaller percentages of their disposable income to charities, but we must be careful to get our facts right on this.December 6, 2012 2:29 pm at 2:29 pm #910858
Preferential option is a Catholic doctrine that has nothing to do with this discussion or with whether or not the poor will inherit the Earth.December 6, 2012 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #910859
The one before whom we will stand b’din v’cheshbon will determine the tzidkus of an individual. Not You. Not Me. And from where do you get the notion that tzidkus is something for which we have a right to make comparisons? Does the Torah tell us to measure tzadikim against one another? Does the Torah tell us to judge that which we can not know every element of? (There are numerous stories of hidden tzidkus by people thought to be misers or worse, who were found to be righteous only after they died, when word of their secret tzidkus was revealed)
I think the entire question, and the entire worldview of this tzadik is bigger than that tzadik or this gadol is better than that gadol is not only useless, but it is damaging to all of us. We should strive to accomplish what HKBH wants from US, not what we may perceive with our limited knowledge to be what someone else may be doing righteously.
In fact, I will go even further. I think it is not a Jewish notion at all. We don’t have saints. We don’t believe that humans, even the best of them, rich or poor, are perfect, or infallible. This is just another way to start a conversation saying “we” are better than “yenem” because “we” have or don’t have “x”.
I come from a family that in generations far past had both wealth and great lomdus, but also from those who had no wealth and little learning, but had the merit of chesed and ahavas yisroel. B’H, I like many of us, will have personal examples to follow no matter where we are with material things.December 6, 2012 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #910860
mythoughts and interjection – Great answers!December 6, 2012 4:48 pm at 4:48 pm #910861
In the Torah it says “Aser t’aser” and we learn from this “Aser bishvil shetisasher”. It is clear from this (and many other sources) that ashirus is a bracha. I believe it’s important to realize that hashkafically, the Torah considers wealth a bracha. How could the Torah consider something a bracha if it was virtually guaranteed to make a person “not such a tzaddik” – in other words, push a person away from Hashem?
Now, what an individual does with his brachos – and whether they present new nisyonos to him – is a separate question.December 6, 2012 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #910862
” Our tradition teaches that the oppressed, the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden will inherit the earth.”
Better get that geirus checked, buddy. That may be what Matthew told you but the passuk in tehillim lehavdil should not be read with christian colored glasses.
Inherit the land means meeting moshiach (Rashi in Sanhedrin 98)
The humble refers to tzaddikim, as is explicit in passuk 29. The other passukim (9, 11, 18, 22, etc) use adjectives for tzaddikim instead of the word itself. Nowhere in the torah do we degrade the rich or unoppressed for having advantages in life, nor do we find preferrential treatment for any characteristic other than righteousness.December 6, 2012 7:12 pm at 7:12 pm #910863
Many poor tzadikim are chaleshing to be rich beinonim. Your entire trolling post is flawed.December 6, 2012 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #910864
Zed – I am a Republican. If you couldn’t figure out whether I agree or disagree with Shmoel’s observation then you must be a Democrat as well.December 6, 2012 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #910865
May I refer you to the Igeres HaRamban (which is now included in Artscroll’s Expanded Complete Siddur), in which he cautions against thinking badly of rich people. That letter needs to be read by everyone. Hashem gave each of us what wealth, possessions, etc. that we have, and we’re each supposed to use that to the fullest to live up to Hashem’s hopes for our potential. Rich people have nisyonos, and poor people have nisyonos. There are both rich and poor people who overcome them and contribute greatly to Klal Yisroel and the world. There are also rich and poor people who fall to the nisyonos. And most of us are probably somewhere in between. It’s bad enough that our nation’s top leader is mounting a class warfare to enable his agenda. We should not be imitating that example, of mounting a war between the rich and the poor, in the Jewish world.December 6, 2012 8:46 pm at 8:46 pm #910866
Preferential Option is an aspect of Liberation Theology, which, while it originated with Catholics, seems to have parallels within our own tradition.
I see nothing idolatrous or flawed about this idea.December 6, 2012 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #910867
artchill: It would be wiser for the rich beinonim to chalish to become a poor tzadik, than the alleged desire you describe.December 6, 2012 9:08 pm at 9:08 pm #910868
With all due respect – nonsense.December 6, 2012 9:39 pm at 9:39 pm #910869
Would it be such a crime if I had a small fortune
TevyeDecember 6, 2012 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #910870
yichusdik, I’m not sure what you’re implying, but if you’re implying that there is no such thing as perfection in the sense of a person having no yetzer hara, you are very much mistaken. See Yerushalmi Sota 25:1, about Avraham’s and Dovid’s yetzer haras. Yes, tzaddikim have nisyonos, but those are different from ours. I don’t know how many of them there are nowadays though. Don’t forget what it says in Shabbos 55:2, ????? ??? ????? ?? ???, ???? ??: ?????? ?? ????, ????? ??? ???, ???? ??? ???, ????? ?? ???.
And comparing (the maalos of) tzaddikim may not neccessarily be a bad thing, if you are trying to determine whom to follow, for example, or you are mishabeach a tzaddik. Remember the comparison of R’ Elazar Ben Arach in Pirkei Avos.
So for heaven’s sake, don’t bring in other religions to this. In general I think there is a kernel of truth in your message, especially the beginning, but I felt you were toeing the line.
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