Sifra on Leviticus 25:35

 

ספרא בהר פרשה ה

Original Text:

כי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו עמך אל תניחנו שירד, הא למה זה דומה למשוי על גבי החמור עודנו במקומו אחד תופש בו ומעמידו, נפל לארץ חמשה אין מעמידים אותו

Translation:

“If your kin is waxen poor, and his/her means fail with you; then you shall strengthen him/her, (whether a stranger or a native, so that s/he can live with you)” (Lev. 25:35). Don't allow her/him to fall into utter poverty. The injunction may be explained by analogy with a load on a donkey: As long as it is standing up, one may grab it [to keep from falling] and keep it standing upright. Once s/he has fallen, five people cannot make it stand up again. [Translation by Hillel]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How can we best prevent a donkey from falling down? What happens if we hesitate?
2. What might be a more modern analogy than the load on a donkey?
3. How can we prevent today’s donkeys from toppling over?
4. How does this text propel us into action?

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