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Is wealth a mark of sin, a sign that a person has greedily taken too much and necessarily impoverished others? Is poverty a sign of laziness, an outer indication of a poor character? We explore the Jewish view on why there is inequality in wealth, and what should we do about it.

Class 1: The One Percent and Redistribution of Wealth

Class 1: The One Percent and Redistribution of Wealth

Election 2012: A Jewish Perspective

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Class 1: The One Percent and Redistribution of Wealth: Election 2012: A Jewish Perspective

Is wealth a mark of sin, a sign that a person has greedily taken too much and necessarily impoverished others? Is poverty a sign of laziness, an outer indication of a poor character? We explore the Jewish view on why there is inequality in wealth, and what should we do about it.
Election 2012 (1) Wealth-Redistribution
Politics, Government, Taxes, Wealth & Poverty
Rabbi Nochum Mangel directs Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Dayton, Ohio.
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Bill Montreal May 21, 2015

Advertising for a product I've been thinking about the idea that our wealth is fixed (that our income is pre-ordained) and tying this to the idea of advertising. There are some people who advertise their products on a daily basis - would they make the same amount without this advertising or is advertising considered a necessary part of their creative work? Reply

yehuda trestman s diego, ca August 27, 2012

Rabbi You have done tremendous justice to the topic of wealth politics and divinity I truly enjoyed your talk dr Shliach from san diego Reply

zalmen Mexico August 26, 2012

Government OUT of Free enterprize!! A government doesnt have to do with Tzdaka... the smaller the Govrnment and least regulations makes Humans More Productive and FREE.. richness comes with WORK and perseverance.. and then Yzdaka.. Taxes are NOT a form of Tzedaka!! Reply

Nochum Mangel, Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton, oh August 26, 2012

re: wealth distribution Your point is well taken. Rabbi Yehuda was honoring the wealthy for what they did with their wealth, not for just accumulating it. The message is relevant then universally: in whatever way one is wealthy-- time, talent, energy -- if one devotes that "wealth" to the community's holy causes, one deserves honor. Reply

Anonymous Pocatello, ID August 26, 2012

rich and poor, tzedakah vs taxation I think it was Dennis Prager who said that when a person gives tzedakah to another, the giver feels grateful that s/he was able to give, and the receiver feels grateful that someone cared; when a person is taxed s/he is irritated at having no say in where his/her money is going, and the receiver feels they are entitled to more. Even when the net taken and received is the same, the results in psychological and spiritual terms are very, very different. I also amazed at all the commenters who "know" how rich people live and what their motives are. Maybe they should read "The Millionaire Next Door" and other books by Stanley & Danko, instead of confusing the rich with celebrities. Reply

Anonymous Beverly Hills August 24, 2012

wealth distribution Lots of valid points raised here, except of course (IMHO) were the rabbi who put the rich in front of the synagouge (for giving a lot of money to the synagouge) is justified. If we consider those who dont have a lot money to give, but give a lot of their time, their wisdom, their physical strenght, shouldn't every man then be brought to the front of the synagouge?!? But I totally agree, that we are all given talents so as to share them. Reply

Rev. Paul Schmidtbleicher Seattle, WA August 23, 2012

Wealth Distribution As a Baptist Pastor, I watched your first class on this subject with great interest. You are "Right On!" We are on the same page with my interpretation of the Mosaic Law. Not hearing the next class yet, I would anticipate that it is our personal responsibility to give and NOT government. Furthermore, in my reading of "Torah" (my King James Version), the charity was distributed by the Levites which entered G-d into the equation with the poor. Their help was coming from G-d by way of individuals making righteous decisions to obey Him. It was NOT from government.
Wow! I marvel at the agreement we share in your "message." It gives me a new love for my Jewish brethren. Will be looking forward to your next installment. Reply

Rabbi Shais Taub Pittsburgh, PA August 23, 2012

Editor's note Thank you all so much for your comments.
Tonight (Thursday, Aug 23) at 7pm Eastern, LESSON TWO of this series will air. We invite you to watch this latest episode and to post comments pertaining to the new episode on the appropriate page.

We look forward to continuing this lively discussion. For the sake of clarity, it will work best if the discussion of each new episode takes place on the page that belongs to it.


Thanks for watching and for sharing! Reply

Anonymous chesterfield, MO August 22, 2012

wealthy and poor it is unfortunate you did not not understand that the 1 percent movement does not represent redistribution of wealth but rather a farer economic system. when you have the top 1 percent paying a lower tax rate than ,middle income families,something is wrong. Your suggestion that G-D allocates resources but yet allows people to die of starvation is not fair to HASHEM Reply

Feigele Boca Raton, FL August 22, 2012

G-d’s Allocation of Wealth to Some People The wealthy people do distribute their wealth to the less fortunate by giving them jobs and that is already a big mitzvah on their part but without them, the wealthy would not become rich since no one would do the jobs that make them rich in the first place. When they give charity to organizations or others, it is not without greed. They do it because it is tax deductible. They do distinct themselves from the poor by buying expensive things and best places in synagogues, sports events, travels or any other places and thus act as superior beings. They become a different race or species, if you will, which is degrading to the poor who were not given the same abilities, skills and power by G-d. The world needs the rich and the poor to do the jobs that make the rich richer. Is it kindness, charity or just plain necessity? Reply

Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton, OH August 22, 2012

purpose of a Torah discussion The ideal that a Torah discussion aims at was expressed by a heavenly voice that said of the great debate between the schools of Hillel and Shammai that "both these and these are the words of the Living G-d." We do not imagine ourselves as having the final word, but we do think there is value in directing our political debates into the Torah mode. This is the tried and proven way of getting beyond the shrillness and the lack of creative interaction that characterizes too much of our political discourse. We are glad that people coming from a variety of perspectives have watched this and have shared their thoughts. We hope that this will continue, and people will feel comfortable and confident that in a Torah setting, the unique insight that each person can bring has a place and will be heard. Reply

Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton, OH August 22, 2012

a note on Aruch Hashlchan 242:44 I appreciate your going back to the sources, which is something we hope to stimulate -- we should approach all issues, especially the most pressing ones, on the basis of Jewish teaching, and not just reserve G-d for shul.
However, it is clear that the Aruch Hashulchan cannot mean that this applies only to a business person. He uses a very important qualifier and writes "shum esek". The sense of this is very broad -- any person who has any way of earning money, not merely a businessman in the narrow sense. Reply

Steve M brooklyn, ny August 22, 2012

sorry sorry, but this is a huge over-simplification of the current political issues. if you want to give a shiur on wealth, then of course that is fine. I would suggest that you should not relate it to current political issues,debates or elections. Reply

Catherine ny, ny August 22, 2012

wealthy vs poor This rabbi -- may G-d inscribe his name in the book of life for a good and sweet year -- is trying to teach the audience certain principles. He didn't mention or even imply that a particular person or group has the answers. He is telling you that if you want to know and understand the perspective of being G-d's partner on earth that one should understand the Torah, G-d's plan for humanity. Unfortunately by reading the various comments those who are ignorant of G-d's plan will continue to remain so. Those who had the open mind will have the possibility of making this world a better place and those that already know this important information will feel the Rabbi did an excellent and good thing. I only pray that G-d will continue to allow Chabad to use the internet to teach about G-d and enough people will hear the treasure they are offering the world. Reply

Steven J Wyke Covington, OH via chabaddayton.com August 22, 2012

The One Percent and Redistribution of Wealth Thank you very much. A very rewarding presentation. I've been taught, and I truly believe, that Torah applies to everything we do. As you put it, Torah presents a way to properly live. I've enjoyed your presentations very much at the Shul in Dayton. Looking forward to learning more from you. Again, thank you, for what you do in making our community better. Reply

Anonymous August 22, 2012

foolishness or bravery? they say it's a fine line between being a fool and being brave. i'm sure you know which you are Rabbi. someone asked what the rich have taken from the rest of us. it's pretty obvious isn't it? there is this naive attitude that all's fair in this system and nothing could be further from the truth. try reading a book not published by "them", A People's History for example, and then maybe you'll learn how bad off we are. better yet The Unseen Hand, here you will get an insight as to what really is going on. this is a pointless topic for debate or discussion because very few people are willing to do what it will take to make meaningful change in the world. most have trouble putting on tefillin everyday, or keeping shabbos, we don't really expect them to take action do we. this is a cynical opinion i know, but look around, it's not a very nice place we live, and we have no one to blame but oueselves. Reply

Aaron Makabi August 21, 2012

Very good lecture, thank you. Reply

Jeff C Texas August 21, 2012

Outstanding An excellent lesson. I look forward to the next one. Reply

Anonymous toronto, CA August 21, 2012

Wealth Very good lesson.It is important to recognize He who gave the ability for a person or nation to be wealthy and for what purpose. The end purpose is not to be rich and to collect the most wealth but also to live righteously. Reply

Anonymous August 20, 2012

Punishment for not helping The rabbi gives an example of a rich Jew being punished for not helping a poor Jew. I can think of other examples where a rich Jew didn't become poor but actually became wealthier even though he didn't help a poor Jew. There could be reasons for not helping, i.e. family problems, etc... What if he gave 3 coins instead of 1 coin, still not enough but much better, then what? There are so many gray areas in such simple examples that it's very hard to learn from them. So, if people see one example where a rich Jew is punished for not helping and another example where a rich Jew is not punished, what are they supposed to learn? Reply

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