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Why Does G-d Not Feed the Poor?

Why Does G-d Not Feed the Poor?

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Question:

G‑d is surely not a hypocrite. If He tells us to do something, He should do it Himself as well. So shouldn't G‑d be obligated to feed the poor? Why doesn't He help His own children rather than commanding us to do it for Him?

Answer:

Imagine you know a family that can’t put food on the table. You want to help them. So you send a nice check inWhy doesn't He help His own children? the mail. But it never gets there, as the mailman keeps the check for himself.

So you order a meal online for them. But the restaurant gets the order wrong and gives the food to someone else.

Determinedly, you arrange a grocery delivery for them. But the delivery truck never shows up.

Exasperated, you go on to your bank app to do a direct transfer. And the app crashes.

Did you try to help? Yes. Were they helped? No. What went wrong? You were let down by the system. You may have the best intentions, but you rely on others to do their part. If they don't, the help doesn't arrive.

G‑d wants to help everyone. So He created a world that has all the necessary resources to feed every mouth. And he set up a system to deliver the goods to those who are in need.

There is enough money in the world for everyone to have what they need, enough love to give to every lonely person, enough time to help those who can’t help themselves. All that is required is goodwill and a sense of responsibility on the part of those who have, to share with those who have not.

We are the system. You and me. Doing our part to keep the system rolling is called tzedakah. Although generally translated as “charity,” this term actually means “justice,” since it is only right that we pass on the portion of G‑d’sFood is not all we need for nourishment bounty that is designated for others.

So why are there hungry people? Because we aren't doing our job. If we don't deliver, the food doesn't get to its destination. That is not G‑d's fault, it's ours.

Of course, G‑d could just cut out the middleman and feed the hungry Himself. But that would defeat the purpose of creation—to make a world of kindness, where people choose to use their gifts to help each other.

Food is not all we need for nourishment. We also have a need for meaning. In order to give us a life of meaning, G‑d gives us the opportunity to give. When I help someone more needy than myself, I am also being nourished. I am giving food, but I am receiving much more. I am receiving the gift of purpose.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Shoshana Jerusalem July 12, 2017

G-d does feed the poor. All the charity that the poor receive is from Him through them ( the kind people who give.). Also, there are poor people who have farms and poor people who go fishing. Though they remain poor, they have enough to eat and those who really have nothing are fed by G-d thorough charity, as I said above.

Everything is from G-d, also the rich man's food. Our children are from Him, our parents, our homes, our livelihood, our health. Our ability to see, talk, think, hear.

So let's praise Him and thank Him and sing these praises to Him everyday.

Ein od milvado. There is no power in the world but Him. Reply

Feigele Jacksonville FL via chabadbocabeaches.com July 11, 2017

If G-d already knew that A&E would eat the fruit, why didn't he stop it or change that event. Maybe because he put his trust in them and was hoping they wouldn't do it on their own, without his help! which let's us know that, in life, there is always hope to go one way or another. On the other hand, if they had not sin, we might not have been here today.
As to feed the poor, he leaves it to us as part of our duty in this world. Reply

Feigele Jacksonville FL via chabadbocabeaches.com July 11, 2017

If G-d already knew that A&E would eat the fruit, why didn't he stop it or change that event. Maybe because he put his trust in them and was hoping they wouldn't do it on their own, without his help! which let's us know that, in life, there is always hope to go one way or another. On the other hand, if they had not sin, we might not have been here today.
As to feed the poor, he leaves it to us as part of our duty in this world. Reply

Howard Wright Jacksonville July 14, 2017
in response to Feigele:

I pray that others will soon find this out. We have a duty to help those in need, that's why He blesses us with more than enough but there are so many of us who has more than we could ever spend and still want more. Reply

Ruth July 3, 2017

Is this how G-d initially wanted to create the world, or only after the apple was eaten in the garden? Reply

Mendel Adelman July 9, 2017
in response to Ruth:

You first have to ask if G-d knew that the fruit (probably not apple) would be eaten in the Garden of Eden.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Volume 1,3) points out that the prohibition against eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was only for a a few hours. If Adam and Eve would not have succumbed before nightfall, then Shabbos would have arrived and the world would have become perfect.

How could people who were just created and were having conversations with G-d fall in such a short time? Wasn't there anything better to do? Maybe explores the new world that was all around them, maybe?

The Rebbe explains that the sin was actually purposeful. They knew that eating from the Tree of Knowledge would mix good and evil and give the possibility of repentance. Bad could actually be transformed.

They knew it would be a long and painful process, but they accepted it. And G-d, who is All-Knowing, knew what they would choose. And he set it up that way. Please see How Sin Started Reply

Alfred Hoffman Dos Palos July 11, 2017
in response to Mendel Adelman:

Sad, But Adam and ben'Adam now know little of what could have been. Maybe a question of expository inquiry. Like the good Pesach question. Reply

Renee Asher Pgh October 12, 2016

Why the world was created The world was created as a test. It was not meant for us to pursue a successful career, accrue riches, or reach for glory. It was meant as a test to see how those who have more will treat those who have not - how the rich will treat the poor. it is a place for our souls to develop and reach perfection. This world is a test for each of u. It is up for us to provide for each other. Reply

Anonymous Brockton Ma September 28, 2016

Anonymous NY I agree with you . For those who are blaming G-d for their woos in life . Read the bible there you will gain knowledge . So perhaps next time you'll not speak incorrectly . Reply

Sigmund Ivarsson Nara September 7, 2016

If God asked for charity it would blow your minds Reply

Chaia NY September 5, 2016

God feeding the poor I sometimes think that this life is a test to see what we are and who we are. Are we caring and loving ? Concerned and helpful or are we selfish and not concerned with others? Are we evil or decent and G_D fearing beings? Maybe He is testing us. I don't perceive to know where we go from here but I hope that we would go out of our way to help the needy and feed the hungry and be the epitome of His children. Reply

Feigele Boca Raton FL via chabadbocabeaches.com September 5, 2016

No percentage for me! The problem doesn’t lay in the people’s comments. Everyone has its own share of financial, health and other problems. We don’t have to lay down all our problems to justify our comments. We also don’t have to give charity over our means. When I give, I do not calculate a percentage, I just give-more or less. That’s it. I don’t believe G-d is an accountant and keeps books for each of his creature. When we do a good deed, it’s G-d in you showing you the right thing to do. Reply

Shoshana Jerusalem September 3, 2016

anonymous -Sept.1--What kind of God? G-d does not let people suffer so that others can realize their purpose. He has plenty of ways of feeding poor people. Also, He does not need us at all to help Him do this, though we are supposed to help the poor and give tzedaka, between 10 to 20 percent of our income. Jews have always excelled in this mitzvah and we are the most charitable people in the world. Every Jewish community has all kinds of tzedaka funds. But if there is a hungry person who for some reason has been overlooked, G-d can put the thought
in someone's mind to walk down that particular street at that exact moment and have rachmanus and help.

But for sure, if all the world's people were charitable as we Jews are, and if the governments would do what they are supposed to be doing, there would be far less suffering, because there is surely enough food for everyone. The waste of food is appalling. Someone should arrange that the leftovers from shmorgasboards, etc. should go to the poor. Reply

Missie July 10, 2017
in response to Shoshana:

Better yet, someone at those smorgasbords could throw open the doors and invite the poor in to share the food while it's hot and fresh! :) Reply

Jackie Rozenfeld Australia September 3, 2016

Abilities of G-d versus Man There is no way that we can achieve what G-d can and whilst it is all very well saying that G-d is in us, whilst many are already utterly strapped for resources for their own families and immediate communities, how can they then give even more to those further afield.
I am simply unsure why it is difficult for people to understand what some of us are saying here and that is that
Hashem has infinite power and resources and thus all suffering goes on with His permission and endorsement or else it would not take place. Reply

Feigele Boca Raton FL via chabadbocabeaches.com September 2, 2016

Redefining G-d! Maybe we should redefine what G-d is and what he does! G-d is an entity and part of us. So when you say: why G-d doesn’t feed the poor, it’s like saying: why don’t I feed the poor. G-d created the universe and everything in it. He gave us all abilities and sills to make it work. He didn’t say: sit back and watch how it’s done and learn, and maybe one day you will be able to do it yourself the proper way. He gave us free will to improvise, and making mistakes is part of life. Reply

Jackie Rozenfeld Australia September 1, 2016

Agree entirely with Anonymous below and wonder why nobody finds it hard to comes to terms with the fact that as has been said:
"...the Architect can provide food for billions of people and He can cure all the sick in all the hospitals, and stop all the wars (and even get rid of the Arabs or turn them into our friends!).
There is nothing He, the Creator, cannot do." yet does not.
Either He is omnipotent/benevolent or not?
Either there is justification (which we clearly can't see) for all the suffering that He allows/orchestrates, or there is not. If there is in fact rationale behind the heinous suffering of billions of people then I really wish Hashem would make is easier to understand and undo. But to say that people go starving due to the failure of mankind, is to suggest Hashem is not omnipotent or is not benevolent but you cannot have it both ways.
If perchance such thoughts make you uncomfortable or you only wish to repeat standard phrases then I'll take no more time.
Good shabbos Reply

Anonymous September 1, 2016

What kind of God? What kind of God is this such that children should suffer so others can realize their purpose? This begs some serious theological inquiry. Reply

Chaya NYC September 1, 2016

Brilliant. Brilliant.

Moss saves the world, one Q&A at a time.

Please keep writing! Reply

Feigele via chabadbocabeaches.com August 31, 2016

We never refuse charity! We cannot be patrolling the earth in search of needy people, it doesn’t mean we don’t give charity when the time comes. We are not oblivion to poverty around us, but we need to provide for our own family first, then, can we share some of our means according to what we can do without depriving our children. In Communist countries, it’s all equal, you cannot possess more than the others. In non-Communist countries, you reap what you sow, meaning you work harder and harder to get where you want to be, no one else is giving it to you. Reply

Shoshana Jerusalem August 31, 2016

anonymous, Brooklyn First of all, "kol hakavod" to you for the great work you are doing, and may H-shem bless you for your goodness, and may you have much more success and be able to provide for even more children.

Next, the Architect can provide food for billions of people and He can cure all the sick in all the hospitals, and stop all the wars (and even get rid of the Arabs or turn them into our friends!).
There is nothing He, the Creator, cannot do.

What do you find offensive in this post? Reply

Jackie Rozenfeld Australia August 31, 2016

In saying that people starve because we all do not feed them, that suggests that life is not fair and that some suffer for the sins of omission, performed by others yet this is not a Jewish concept is it?
This is again a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility and guilt fro many of us cannot support more than our own families or our own families and the needs of Jews around the world.
If Hashem is omnipotent then there must be a different way of people learning benevolence without causing suffering to the innocent.
Here we sit typing in first world countries on our computers, talking about our responsibilities to feed others when how many of us are doing this? Reply

Shoshana Jerusalem August 30, 2016

J. Rozenfeld I'm sorry but I just didn't understand your point. What is exactly bothering you about what I wrote? Please explain.

As far as saying< "this is H-shem's will so we can stop fretting", I have never come across anyone who thinks like that, and every religious Jew gives between 10-20 percent of his income to charity organizations to help the poor people, plus there are organizations that come door to door and ask for food donations which are distributed to poor families. In addition to that there are clothing gemachs and endless ways we help each other, with medical help also. I don't know why you say that help is most often not available.

And of course the only real Resource for anyone is H-shem, because everything comes from Him, including the rich man's salary. Ein Od Milvado. Reply

James More Seasun City August 30, 2016

Feed the poor multiple ways Jewish congregations are very good about feeding the poor. When I go to the service on Saturday they have an after service meal and I leave twice filled and I am filled again by the Sabbath. Reply

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