Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tzedakah as bribe


[Background: In the fourth chapter of the book of Daniel, Daniel interprets Nevuchadnezzar's dream to indicate that punishment is coming to him, and he advises Nevuchadnezzar to give tzedakah in order to forestall his punishment.]

"Why was Daniel punished? Because he advised Nevuchadnezzar… [to give tzedakah]"

(Talmud, Bava Batra 4a)

"Giving tzedakah to the needy cannot resolve the problem of haughtiness and arrogance, which plagued Nevuchadnezzar. Perhaps this was Daniel's sin; he did not entirely clarify his words to Nevuchadnezzar, and he planted within Nevuchadnezzar the feeling that the tzedakah he would distribute to the needy would pacify Divine wrath at his arrogance. Can one who sins with arrogance then bribe the One who neither shows favour nor accepts bribes?"

(Rabbi Yaakov Medan, Daniel: Galut v'Hitgalut pg. 101)

Have a great day,

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