the nerve of some people

There's a thought I had while I was in America, that went under my radar as far as how mind-bending an idea it is. Someone asked me to speak on Shabbath in my parents' congregation, and having nothing to lose, I decided to speak about how much it behooves us all to be in Israel. I was merciless in the most loving way I could be.

Anyone who worries about parnasa in Israel doesn't understand how parnasa works, I said. The shefa for the whole world is a function of whatever falls off of Israel's table. If you can make a kli (a vessel) to receive HaShem's blessing in the diaspora, so much more so in Israel.

A close friend asked me after I returned to my seat, "Well then, why do all the schnurrers (beggars) from Israel show up here all the time?"

The answer is: HaShem creates poverty in Israel only so that the Jews of the diaspora will be able to receive reward from their charity. Poverty in Israel exists only so that Jews outside of the land will still have a connection to it.

The poor of Israel are performing tremendous mesirat nefesh so that their brothers abroad aren't lost entirely.

Update: This post was actually something I'd been thinking about for a while, but it took a post over on A Simple Jew to crystalize it properly. As you can see from the comments there, this post is only half of the idea. I'm going to copy over a small part of one of the comments that really illustrates this idea in the text of sefer Devarim:
in Devarim (15:11) (כִּי לֹא-יֶחְדַּל אֶבְיוֹן, מִקֶּרֶב הָאָרֶץ) HaShem tells us that there will always be poor people--"mikerev ha'aretz" (מקרב הארץ) it would make more sense to say "b'kerev ha'aretz" (in the midst of the land rather than from the midst of the land) From this we can see that in fact, tzedaka is "mekarev ha'aretz", it brings the land closer. It brings Eretz Yisrael closer to each Jew. If poverty was simply a result of distribution of wealth, how can HaShem tell us that there will always be poverty? Rather, since tzedaka in Israel is the means through which Jews outside of Israel can "bring the land close to them," as long as there are Jews in chutz la'aretz there will always be poverty in the land of Israel.

The end of the passuk (עַל-כֵּן אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ, לֵאמֹר, פָּתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת-יָדְךָ לְאָחִיךָ לַעֲנִיֶּךָ וּלְאֶבְיֹנְךָ, בְּאַרְצֶךָ) drives home the point: Therefore I command you, saying, open your hand to your brother, your poor b'artzecha. Literally this means "in your land." (ie. in Eretz Yisrael) But, b'artzecha can also mean for the sake of the land or in exchange for the land. So we can understand it literally to mean: "obtain the land through opening your hand to the poor."

This becomes obvious when we relate the passuk: ציון במשפת תפדה ושביה בצדקה - Zion will be redeemed through justice and her captives [will be returned] with tzedaka.


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