Class 2: Funding Social Services

Election 2012: A Jewish Perspective

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Class 2: Funding Social Services: Election 2012: A Jewish Perspective

Modern governments use their authority to tax their constituents and pay for public works and social services. How did Jewish communities understand their roles in furthering the welfare of the people? What is the Torah view on how a society can express compassion while also teaching individual responsibility?
Election 2012 (2) Social-Services  
Government, Charity, Taxes, Wealth & Poverty, Politics

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Anonymous February 3, 2013

Verbring a guten Shabbes regardless of welfare paychecks!!! "R. Johanan said in R. Jose's name: He who delights in the Sabbath is given an unbounded heritage, for it is written, Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will feed thee"
Talmud Shabbat 118a Reply

Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton September 30, 2012

Bert, The Torah notes the sad fact of how parents can hurt their children by saying that the sins of the wicked are visited on the children for three or four generations. It is extremely difficult to separate the children from the parents, and through no fault of their own, children can suffer. Though we must try to ameliorate that suffering, it doesn't lend itself to easy, slogan-driven solutions.
As for how much tsedaka, the Torah is explicit: "Whatever is lacking." We may not always be in the position to do that, but it remains a spur. Reply

Bert San Jose, CA September 27, 2012

Children Rabbi, one topic missing from your presentation is children. Do children have a right to collect tzdaka beyond the bare minimum to stay alive? What about the children of irresponsible parents who choose not to work? If you say that the children should get more than the parents, how would you enforce that? The fact that a significant amount of our social services goes to support children makes the question is more than relevant. Reply

Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton September 4, 2012

a note on incentivized hiring It is important to note, since some criticism seems to be implying that this is a rightist idea, that incentivizing hiring was part of the stimulus legislation. There seems to be fairly broad consensus on its value, certainly a support that crosses party lines. Reply

Mike Baz Montreal, CA September 3, 2012

Re: Bottom Line Most of your taxes go into the pockets of private financiers, not social welfare. The Federal Reserve is neither federal nor does it have any reserves. Just Google it. That's where most of your taxes go. Your argument in no way invalidates mine, taxes remain theft by implied/actual violence, therefore forbidden by Judaism. Reply

Barak Phoenix, AZ August 31, 2012

The Bottom Line Funding social services is a systemic way for governments to take care of those less fortunate. This is not Tsedaka, Charity or Chessed. There is NO incongruity between Torah Judaism and part of taxes going to funding of social services. Reply

Anonymous Walnut Creek, CA August 31, 2012

A Fallacy In The Argument Giving incentives to employers to hire the unemployed assumes that they will do just that. It is evident that, in our society, those with the windfall incomes choose to put it in offshore accounts in foreign countries to take advantages of tax breaks in order to keep more of the earnings to themselves. They are NOT hiring, they are avoiding paying into funding for legitimate social programs. Corporations and individuals are sitting on mountains of cash, not investing, because there is no demand for the products and services that they can offer. A better solution is for the government to invest in neglected infrastructure to generate employment and demand for building materials which people back to work on things that are very much needed. We tried trickle-down and it failed miserably, why continue with failed policies? Incentives have not worked. Reply

Tom Portland August 28, 2012

The needy, the safety net, and the others America has the notion of a "social safety net", where people who fall on hard time can get help from several levels of government. However, there are many who make it a lifestyle to depend on the government, and do little to make themselves self-sufficient. They consume resources that we had hoped would go to the truly needy. If we could separate the needy from the lazy, the needy could live very well, and we would spend a lot less on social programs. Reply

Tom Portland August 28, 2012

Love thy brother as thyself This is a profound concept. Each person cares as much about the others as they do about themselves. However, it requires that everyone buy into the concept. As much as a wealthy person wants to help those with less, those with less want to not depend on those with more. Everyone must care to pull at least their own weight, or else it falls apart.

Free enterprise in a place populated with people who practice Tzedakkah is a pretty good option. Peoples' nature is to do what they think is best for their own needs. Free enterprise uses that aspect of human nature for people to work to earn their way. Torah teaches us to use our extra to help others. Reply

Anonymous August 28, 2012

Great video, a little dark though Great video. The video is dark. Can you brighten the footage a little. Reply

john smith fort laudedale, Florida August 28, 2012

Stop lying to your followers Federal Reserve Banking has NOTHING to do with taxes and having the ability to print more as they need it.
This is why, Communists in US Senate have not passed a budget in over 3 years...
Government will take ALL of your money if needed....as history has always shown. Does the propaganda even come to "the temple?" Is there no shame?


Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton August 28, 2012

Torah and Taxation The Torah begins by telling us that all of the world belongs to G-d. Although He allows us use of His world, He continues to hold title to everything in it and He therefore can and does set the terms of its use.

G-d does in fact specify several things that a person must give, and it is not considered voluntary at all. The poor, the priest, the Levite, all are mandated support directly in the Torah's texts in a number of places. These are more subject to our choice than the mandate not to murder.

This does not yet address the question of how does a modern-day government fit into this pattern? While the Founders certainly tried to design a government that would conform to the laws of what Jefferson called "nature and nature's G-d," how well our republic achieves that is subject to the verdict of its citizens. We are trying to set down what should be done in a society that truly pits G-d at its center -- the Torah's goal for the whole world. Reply

Jeff Childs TX August 28, 2012

Outstanding Another excellent lesson. Thank you, Rabbi. Reply

Anonymous Texas, US August 27, 2012

1000 years of Shabbat! Only with entitlements we can achieve 1000 years of Shabbat and the entitlement society of Moschiach! Reply

Anonymous Texas August 27, 2012

Social Services Ejoyed the discussion, giving someone a Job is more beneficial than monetary assistance. Assistance may be needed until he/ or she gets a job. The idea of providing a minute skill is a good charity of ones time. Reply

Anonymous toronto , CA August 27, 2012

employment. It is more important to put money to work than let it be stagnant whether it be for employing a person or giving charity, not to anyone you dont know but at least to someone you know specially if you have savings .If there is a legitimate reason for a person not working then i think the community should support a person in need.A person who is employed is far better than getting a handout. When it comes to charity received at religious institution after the needs of the institution are met , that also should be put to use. Reply

Anonymous Jacksonville, FL August 25, 2012

Funding Social Services what an excellent speaker. The topic was so appros to my situation. I recently lost my job of 11 years due to funding cuts Reply

Anonymous Oviedo, Florida August 25, 2012

Torah I want to start off by saying this a a great series of teachings. I think finding the Torah perspective in all aspects of life is important.

I have to comment on the Incongruity comment above. I think there are plenty of examples in Torah in which we have to abide by the laws of the land. Anyone living in the US is not under a government that is comparable to those under King David and Solomon, etc. in which Jews make laws according to those statutes set forth in Torah. Daniel lived in the paganism of Babylon and obeyed the laws of the land with one exception: if the laws of the land conflicted with G-d's laws for holy living. For example, he did not compromise his Kosher diet or his prayer life to the one true G-d. If we are required to pay taxes, we must pay taxes. If you are receiving a benefit from those taxes: schools, roads, fire and police....then it is not theft because in needing those services, one would utilize them.
Looking forward to the next lesson! Reply

Anonymous palm beach, FL August 24, 2012

social services Don't agree that it's lowering the payroll
tax that will allow businesses to hire more
people...it's the lack of people with spendable dollars buying from those businesses. How do you hire more help when the existing staff doesn't see dollars
in the register...and no government programs to cleanup,build,etc, to "employ"
them...veterans included! Reply

Catherine ny, ny August 24, 2012

media vs. chabad what a refreshing discussion! I love it. I am so sick of the media "pundents and experts" telling us their experts views. Who decides they are the experts. What point of view are they trying to brainwash its viewing audience into accepting as reality. What a joke.

With a spiritual perspective the topic becomes more broad not so narrow. It becomes provoking indeed. It becomes not liberal or conservative anymore. Instead with the use of "experts in Torah" giving Gods point of view its seems so easy to understand and make conclusions. Thank you Chabad. Thank you Rabbi!!! Reply

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