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Basic sources addressing the mitzvah of p'ru urvu.
Basic sources addressing reproduction and sexual morality
Medical Marijuana has been considered an illegal substance since 1972. The United States Congress claimed marijuana was deadly and placed it in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. It was considered to have no medical use and to be harmful to the human body. Research that has been conducted in more recent times has indicated differently. Studies conducted on medical marijuana have led to many breakthroughs in its use as a medicine and for healing. The Torah supports the use of any natural methods to induce aid and healing to those in need. New discoveries in the chemical THC have proven that marijuana has medicinal purposes and can be used to help treat those who are ill. Therefore, the Torah supports the use of marijuana, a proven harmless substance in relation to other drugs of the same purpose, to help those in pain. Legalization of marijuana for medical purposes across the United States would aid many who are suffering and would also prove beneficial in many other areas. The stimulus it would provide to the economy if taxed and the downfall of marijuana-related crime would help thousands to live more successful lives.
How do we decide what our priorities are in terms of giving tzedakah and helping another person? What do our Jewish sources teach us?
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The Egyptians ruthlessly imposed upon the Israelites the various labors that they made them perform. Ruthlessly they made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field. The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shifra and the other Puah, saying, "When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the birth stool: if it is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.
וַיַּעֲבִדוּ מִצְרַיִם אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּפָרֶךְ: וַיְמָרְרוּ אֶת חַיֵּיהֶם בַּעֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה בְּחֹמֶר וּבִלְבֵנִים וּבְכָל עֲבֹדָה בַּשָּׂדֶה אֵת כָּל עֲבֹדָתָם אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ בָהֶם בְּפָרֶךְ: וַיֹּאמֶר מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם לַמְיַלְּדֹת הָעִבְרִיֹּת אֲשֶׁר שֵׁם הָאַחַת שִׁפְרָה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית פּוּעָה: וַיֹּאמֶר בְּיַלֶּדְכֶן אֶת הָעִבְרִיּוֹת וּרְאִיתֶן עַל הָאָבְנָיִם אִם בֵּן הוּא וַהֲמִתֶּן אֹתוֹ וְאִם בַּת הִיא וָחָיָה: וַתִּירֶאןָ הַמְיַלְּדֹת אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים וְלֹא עָשׂוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶן מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם וַתְּחַיֶּיןָ אֶת הַיְלָדִים: וַיִּקְרָא מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם לַמְיַל
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Every one of the princes of Israel in your midst used his strength for the shedding of blood. Fathers and mothers have been humiliated within you; strangers have been cheated in your midst; orphans and widows have been wronged within you. You have despised My holy things and profaned My sabbaths. Base men in your midst were intent on shedding blood; in you they have eaten upon the mountains; and they have practiced depravity in your midst. In you they have uncovered their fathers' nakedness; in you they have ravished women during their impurity.
הִנֵּה נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִישׁ לִזְרֹעוֹ הָיוּ בָךְ לְמַעַן שְׁפָךְ דָּם: אָב וָאֵם הֵקַלּוּ בָךְ לַגֵּר עָשׂוּ בַעֹשֶׁק בְּתוֹכֵךְ יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה הוֹנוּ בָךְ: קָדָשַׁי בָּזִית וְאֶת שַׁבְּתֹתַי חִלָּלְתְּ: אַנְשֵׁי רָכִיל הָיוּ בָךְ לְמַעַן שְׁפָךְ דָּם וְאֶל הֶהָרִים אָכְלוּ בָךְ זִמָּה עָשׂוּ בְתוֹכֵךְ: עֶרְוַת אָב גִּלָּה בָךְ טְמֵאַת הַנִּדָּה עִנּוּ בָךְ: וְאִישׁ אֶת אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ עָשָׂה תּוֹעֵבָה וְאִישׁ אֶת כַּלָּתוֹ טִמֵּא בְזִמָּה וְאִישׁ אֶת אֲחֹתוֹ בַת אָבִיו עִנָּה בָךְ: שֹׁחַד לָקְחוּ בָךְ לְמַעַן שְׁפָךְ דָּם נֶשֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּית לָקַחַתְּ וַתְּבַצְּעִי רֵעַיִךְ בַּעֹש
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Do not cast me off in old age; when my strength fails, do not forsake me! [JPS translation]
אַל תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי לְעֵת זִקְנָה כִּכְלוֹת כֹּחִי אַל תַּעַזְבֵנִי:
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Blessed are you, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who sanctifies us through imperative, and commands us to immerse ourselves in words of wisdom. Please make sweet, Lord our God, the words of our learning here together in our mouths and the mouths of all your people, so that we and our children and all children will immerse ourselves in this learning and come to internalize our responsibilities.
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Albert Vorspan and David Saperstein, Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice (New York: UAHC Press, 1998), p. 94.
By the Middle Ages, community responsibility encompassed every aspect of life. The Jewish community regulated market prices so that the poor could purchase food and other basic commodities at cost. Wayfarers were issued tickets, good for meals and lodging at homes of members of the community, who took turns in offering hospitality. Both these practices anticipated "meal tickets" and modern food stamp plans. Some Jewish communities even established "rent control," directing that the poor be given housing at rates they could afford.