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Ani Yehudi: A Series on a Jew's Responsibility to the World, to his Country and to his Community

By Rabbi Joshua Flug

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About this Packet
This packet was designed to be used as a multi-part series. It contains three shiur outlines with all of the sources. In addition, we included the basic sources with English translations. The shiurim discuss the following topics: 1. Tikkun Olam: The Jewish People's Role in the Global Community This shiur outline will discuss such questions as: Do we have an obligation to influence non-jews religiously?; What is the requirement of Jews to get involved in humanitarian missions, such as helping victims of earthquakes or helping the poor in third world countries? What must we do to contribute to sustainability of the Earth? It contains the following sections: a. The concept of tikkun olam b. Our responsibility to influence the world c. Our responsibility to provide chesed to the rest of the world d. Our responsibility to contribute to the world and maintain it 2. American Jew or Jewish American? When Golda Meir held the office of Prime Minister, she tried to encourage Henry Kissinger to make Israel a top priority. He sent her a letter: "I would like to inform you that I'm first an American citizen, second Secretary of State and third a Jew." She responded: "In Israel we read from right to left. (click here for source) Jewish Citizens of America or other countries in the Diaspora often struggle with their loyalty towards their own country and towards the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, especially when they conflict. This shiur outline will deal with sources on how to balance the two. It will deal with questions such as: Can one vote for a candidate simply because the candidate is the best for Israel?; Given the choice of military service or other volunteer service for one's own country or for Israel, which one should one choose? It contains the following sections? a. Dina d'malchusa b. The obligation to be loyal to one's country c. Sources of tension d. Halachic literature dealing with the conflict

3. Building and Funding Community Institutions (from the archive) This shiur was not originally designed for this packet, yet, it presents models for contributing to one's community financially and through volunteerism. It presents a number of practical case studies dealing with conflicts among board members about who should pay for synagogue renovations; conflicts about paying for hired help in a synagogue when some members prefer to have volunteers; conflicts about the community paying for services that not everybody needs. The outline will discuss: a. Models presented in the Gemara b. The inherent requirement to construct communal institutions

Table of Contents
Tikkun Olam Shiur Outline and Sources Tikkun Olam Basic Sources with English American Jew or Jewish American Shiur Outline and Sources American Jew or Jewish American Basic Sources with English Building and Funding Community Institutions Shiur Outline and Sources Building and Funding Community Institutions Basic Sources with English Page 4 Page 13 Page 15 Page 21 Page 23 Page 32

Tikkun Olam: The Jewish People's Role in the Global Community
I. Introduction- The term "tikkun olam" has become a buzz word for social activism and being a global citizen. In this shiur outline, we will discuss a Jew's responsibility towards the global community and how it relates to the concept of tikkun olam. a. Articles for further reading: i. Rabbi Dr. J.J. Schacter's article in Rav Chesed Volume II. ii. Gerald Blidstein's article in Tradition. II. The concept of Tikkun Olam a. The Mishnayos in Gittin have a series of institutions that were instituted because of "tikkun ha'olam." They include such things as cancellation of an agent for a get {}, pruzbul and many other institutions. i. Rambam (1138-1204) writes that the rabbinic institutions are for one of two purposes 1) To fortify religious observance and 2) tikkun olam. This highlights the fact that the institutions of tikkun olam are generally issues relating to bettering society and not to religious matters. {} ii. Radvaz (d. 1573) writes that these types of institutions are based on the Torah being ‫}{ .דרכיה דרכי נועם‬ iii. R. Naftali Z.Y. Berlin (The Netziv 1816-1893) writes that the verse (Vayikra 26:12) "‫ "ואתם תהיו לי לעם‬dictates that we have an obligation to conduct matters of governance in a matter that is consistent with the will of God. {} b. The term ‫ לתקן עולם‬is also used in the Aleinu prayer. {} i. R. David Avudraham (14th century) writes that the context of its usage here is to rid the world of idol worship so that the Shechinah can return to the entire world. {} ii. The Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) writes that on Rosh HaShanah, the focus of our prayers is this type of tikkun olam which means that we are trying to restore the honor of God among the nations of the world. Before we can deal with our own needs and the needs of our people, we should ideally be in a state where ‫וידע כל פעול כי אתה פעלתו ויבין כל יצור כי אתה יצרתו ויאמר כל אשר נשמה באפו‬ ‫}{ .ה' א-לקי ישראל מלך ומלכותו בכל משלה‬ III. Our Responsibility to Influence the World a. Rambam writes that while we normally associate kiddush HaShem with martyrdom, there is an element of kiddush HaShem where we bring a good name to following the

ways of God and we fulfill the verse (Yeshayahu 49:3) ‫ויאמר לי עבדי אתה ישראל אשר בך‬ ‫}{ .אתפאר‬ b. R. Avraham ben HaRambam (1186-1237) quotes from his father, that this idea is based on the verse ‫ }{ .ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש‬He explains that a kohen signifies the leader of a group and one who serves as the role model for the rest of the group. When we observe the Torah properly, we will be a nation of kohanim/role models, to the whole world. {} c. Netziv writes in his introduction to sefer Shemos that the reason why Bahag refers to Shemos as "Sefer HaSheni" as opposed to calling it by its name is that Sefer Shemos is because Shemos is the sequel to Bereishis. The purpose of creating the world is to bring the glory of God to the nations of the world through the Jewish People and that didn't come to fruition until Yetzias Mitzrayim and Matan Torah. {} d. R. Avraham I. Kook (1865-1935), following in the footsteps of his rebbi, the Netziv, writes that the ultimate form of tikkun olam is the restoration of the Jewish People to their original glory where they can serve as a model to the rest of the world on all matters of life including private life and governance. {} IV. Our Responsibility to Provide Chesed to the Rest of the World a. R. Yochanan ben Zakai is quoted by the Midrash about the great value of promoting peace between cities, nations, and kingdoms. {} b. The Mishna states that we should pray for the welfare of the government because they are important in maintaining order. {} i. Rabbeinu Yonah (d. 1263) writes that this is not a self-serving statement to protect ourselves. Rather, we have an obligation to feel for the pain of others and when there is unrest in the world, it is inevitable that there is suffering. Therefore, we should pray for the welfare of all kingdoms. {} c. The Beraisa states that we should provide tzedakah, bikkur cholim and kevurah to non-Jews (‫ )עם עניי ישראל‬because of darchei shalom. {} i. Rambam writes that we do these ‫ מפני דרכי שלום‬and cites two verses: {} 1. Tehillim 145:9- ‫.ורחמיו על כל מעשיו‬ 2. Mishlei 3:17- ‫.דרכי דרכי נועם‬ ii. R. Shimon Sofer (1850-1944) explains that Rambam doesn't view darchei shalom as a practical means of avoiding hatred. Rather, darchei shalom is based on the assumption that the Torah values the concept of darchei shalom and therefore, we must provide chesed to everyone, not just the Jewish people. {} d. This concept is expressed in among contemporary authorities:

i. Netziv and the concept of yosher. 1. Netziv writes that Sefer HaBreishis is also called Sefer HaYashar because there are many instances where the Avos acted with yosher when dealing with other people. This includes how Avraham tried to save S'dom, Yitzchak's dealings with Avimelech and Ya'akov's dealings with Lavan. {} 2. Netziv notes that Bila'am asked to die a ‫ מות ישרים‬and not ‫מות חסידים‬ ‫ וצדיקים‬because a ‫ צדיק‬or ‫ חסיד‬is something specific to the Jewish People and a yashar is more universal. It includes looking out for the welfare of all mankind, and feeling for the suffering of others in the world. {} ii. Rav Kook writes that we must strive to love all people from all nations and only hate evil (not the people who perpetrate it). {} iii. R. Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953) writes that we must respect all people because all people are created in the image of God. {} 1. In the footnote, the editor notes the same idea that R. Sofer suggests. iv. R. Yechezkel Levenstein (1895-1974) writes that a person must be a citizen of the world (he uses the term "‫ )"מדיני‬and treat all people with respect and feel for their suffering. {} v. R. Yosef D. Soloveitchik (1903-1993) writes in "Confrontation" that the modern Jew struggles with his obligation to be a Universalist and deal with the struggle of all of humanity while at the same time living the life of a Jew. {} vi. R. Ahron Soloveichik (1917-2001) wrote a letter about getting involved in charities to support non-Jews. He quotes Rambam (quoted earlier) and Rabbeinu Bachya {} in asserting that there is an obligation for a Jew to get involved in universal charities. {} e. These sources are relevant whenever a crisis occurs in the world such as the earthquake in Haiti or Hurricane Katrina. It is also relevant perpetually when dealing with poverty in third world countries and local poverty issues. V. Our Responsibility to Contribute to the World and Maintain it a. The Midrash states that when Adam was created, God gave him a tour of Gan Eden and told him "Look at all of the beautiful things I created, make sure you don't destroy my world." {} i. R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746) quotes this Midrash with a spiritual message- we should follow the ways of God so that world won't be destroyed. {}

ii. Nevertheless, one can also interpret it on a literal level that we have a responsibility to be stewards of the world and protect it from destruction. b. R. Soloveitchik notes that mankind has an obligation to conquer the world (‫)וכבשוה‬ and included in that is to find creative ways to improve the world. "The Creator, as it were, impaired reality in order that mortal man could repair its flaws and perfect it." {} c. R. Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz (Chazon Ish 1878-1953) writes that tikkun olam can sometimes include something that is productive for the society as a whole but destructive to certain individuals. For example, the government can decide to take away people's property in order to build a road or bridge. {} i. This is an important point because in any legitimate political dispute, one side might claim tikkun olam where in reality, both sides are well intentioned and both can legitimately claim that they are contributing to tikkun olam. d. There is a shiur outline on recycling which is relevant to this discussion.

‫מש' גיטין לב.‬

‫4. תפילת עלינו לשבח‬

‫1. רמב"ם הל' ממרים א:ב‬

‫5. אבודרהם סדר תפלת מוסף‬

‫6. אשי ישראל פתיחה לתפילת ראש השנה‬

‫2. רדב"ז א:תיג‬

‫3. העמק דבר ויקרא כו:יב‬

‫7. רמב"ם הל' יסודי התורה ה:יא‬

‫העמק דבר- הקדמה לספר שמות‬


‫אורות הקדש חלק א' ס' קלז‬


‫8. שמות יט:ד-ו‬

‫מכילתא יתרו פרשה יא‬


‫9. פירוש רבי אברהם בן הרמב"ם עה"ת שמות יט:ו‬

‫מש' אבות ג:ב‬


‫רבינו יונה אבות ג:ב‬


‫העמק דבר- הקדמה לספר בראשית‬


‫גיטין סא.‬


‫העמק דבר, במדבר כג:י‬ ‫רמב"ם הל' מלכים י:יב‬ ‫61.‬


‫התעוררות תשובה חלק א' ס' קסו‬


‫מדות הראי"ה אהבה ס' ה‬


‫אהבת הבריות צריכה להיות חיה בלב‬ ‫ובנשמה, אהבת כל האדם ביחוד. ואהבת כל‬ ‫העמים כולם ח(, חפץ עילוים ותקומתם‬ ‫הרוחנית והחמרית, והשנאה צריכה להיות רק‬ ‫על הרשעה והזוהמא שבעולם. אי-אפשר כלל‬ ‫לבא לידי רום-הרוח של "הודו לד' קראו בשמו‬ ‫הודיעו בעמים עלילותיו" בלא אהבה פנימית,‬ ‫מעמקי לב ונפש, להיטיב לעמים כולם, לשפר‬ ‫את קניניהם, לאשר את חייהם.‬

246 '‫מכתב מאליהו חלק ד' עמ‬


‫אור יחזקאל מדות עמ' קמז‬


We Jews have been burdened with a twofold task: we have to cope with the problem of a double confrontation. We think of ourselves as human beings, sharing the destiny of Adam in his general encounter with nature, and as members of a covenantal community which has preserved its identity under most unfavorable conditions, confronted by another faith community. We believe we are the bearers of a double charismatic load, that of the dignity of man, and that of the sanctity of the covenantal community. In this difficult role, we are summoned by God, who revealed himself at both the level of universal creation and that of the private covenant, to undertake a double mission - the universal human and the exclusive covenantal confrontation.



Like his forefather, Jacob - whose bitter nocturnal struggle with a mysterious antagonist is so dramatically portrayed in the Bible the Jew of old was a doubly confronted being. The emancipated modern Jew, however, has been trying, for a long time, to do away with this twofold responsibility which weighs heavily upon him. The Westernized Jew maintains that it is impossible to engage in both confrontations, the universal and the covenantal, which, in his opinion, are mutually exclusive. It is, he argues, absurd to stand shoulder to shoulder with mankind preoccupied with the cognitivetechnological gesture for the welfare of all, implementing the mandate granted to us by the Creator, and to make an about-face the next instant in order to confront our comrades as a distinct and separate community. Hence, the Western Jew concludes, we have to choose between these two encounters. We are either confronted human beings or confronted Jews. A double confrontation contains an inner contradiction.

‫רבנו בחיי דברים טז:כ‬


‫מכתב הרב אהרן סולוביציק‬


‫מדרש קהלת ז:כח‬


‫מסילת ישרים פרק א'‬


‫101 .‪Halakhic Man pg‬‬


‫חזון איש בבא בתרא ס' ד‬


If a man after dispatching a get to his wife meets the agent, or sends a messenger after him, and says to him, the get which I have given to you is cancelled, then it is cancelled. If the husband meets the wife before [the agent] or sends a messenger to her and says, the get I have sent to you is cancelled, then it is cancelled. Once, however, the get has reached her hand, he cannot cancel it. In former times a man was allowed to bring together a rabbinic court wherever he was and cancel the get. Rabban Gamaliel the Elder, however, laid down a rule that this should not be done, so as to improve society.

1. Gittin 32a (adapted from Soncino Translation)

30. Aleinu Prayer (Artscroll Translation)
Therefore we put our hope in You, HASHEM our God, that we may soon see Your might splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty's sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon Your Name, to turn all the earth's wicked toward You. All the world's inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear. Before You, HASHEM, our God, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage, and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that You may reign over them soon and eternally. For the kingdom is Yours and You will reign for all eternity in glory as it is written in Your Torah: "HASHEM shall reign for all eternity." And it is said: "HASHEM will be King over all the world.

31. Ha'Amek Davar, Introduction to Shemot
This comes to teach us that this book specifically is the "second" to the book about the creation of the world because it is the second part of that book, to say, that in this book, the creation was completed … The purpose of the creation was to have a nation dedicated to God and that was not complete until they left Egypt and

acheived their purpose- to have the ability to be a light unto the nations and teach them about the God of the world.

32. Rabbeinu Yonah, Avot 3:2
"R. Chanania, the official of the priests states: Pray for the welfare of the government for if not for fear [of government] man will swallow his friend." The idea is that a person must pray for the peace of the entire world and feel for the suffering of others.

33. Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 10:12 (AJWS Translation)
Our sages commanded us to visit the nonJewish sick and to bury the non-Jewish dead along with the Jewish dead, and support the non-Jewish poor along with the Jewish poor for the sake of peace. As it says, “God is good to all and God’s mercies extend over all God’s works” (Psalms 145:9), and “[The Torah’s] ways are pleasant and all its paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17).

34. Ha'Amek Davar, Introduction to Bereishit
This was the unique quality of our forefathers, that besides the fact that they were righteous and pious and they loved God as much as possible, they were also virtuous, meaning, that the way they related to the nations of world, even to idol worshippers, was with love and they worried about their wellbeing because that is what upholds the creation [of the world].

35. Midrash Kohelet 7:28
When God created Adam, he showed him all of the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him 'See my works how beautiful and praiseworthy they are and everything that I created, I created for you. Make sure that you don't ruin and destroy my world.

American Jew or Jewish American?
I. Introduction- Jews in America or any other free country in America are charged with dual loyalty: to the country in which they reside and the Land of Israel. Sometimes those loyalties conflict. For example, one may be faced with a decision to vote for a candidate who they believe is best for the country, but not necessarily the best for Israel. Additionally, one may be interested in military service or other type of volunteer work and can do so for one's own country or for Israel. This shiur outline will explore the issue of loyalty to one's country and what happens when it conflicts with loyalty to Judaism, the Jewish People and Land of Israel. a. From a historical perspective, the issues played a prominent role in Pre-WWII Europe. Jews were living in countries, some of which they had absolute loyalty to and others which they didn't. The most prominent manifestation of this was whether they volunteered for the military or how they fought when conscripted. b. Here are a few resources on this topic. i. An article on The Dilemma of National Identity- The Jews of Habsburg Austria During World War I. ii. An article by Dr. Judith Bleich on Jewish conscription. iii. A blog post on the various versions of the famous story involving a Jewish soldier lifting his bayonet to kill the enemy, only to hear him recite Sh'ma Yisrael. iv. There are two items in the source sheet. 1. A statement from the Morgenthau report claiming that the Jews' primary allegiance is to their own people over whatever country they live in. {} 2. A leaflet distributed in Germany in 1920 highlighting the fact that 12,000 Jews died in WWI fighting for the fatherland. This was an appeal to show that German Jews were loyal to Germany. {} c. In recent news, with talk of U.S. policy on Israel at the forefront, Jewish politicians have the option of responding based on their Jewish roots as their source of loyalty or based on the need for Israel to be strong because a strong Israel is good for the U.S. Here is a sample of recent statements from members of congress. i. Eric Cantor (R) at his speech at AIPAC mentioned his Jewish roots, but in terms of policy he said "If Israel goes, we all go." ii. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) in a statement about President Obama's recent speeches " As a Jewish Member of Congress who cares deeply about preserving Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, I am proud that President

Obama spoke forcefully about continuing the United States' strong and stalwart support of Israel." iii. Ted Deutch (D) in response to Pres. Obama's speech "As a Member of Congress, I understand that the bond between the United States and Israel was born not just from our mutual security interests, but from our shared core values of freedom, equality, and democracy. I will continue to work tirelessly, as I have throughout my life, to ensure Israel's security is never compromised." II. Dina D'Malchusa a. While it may seem obvious, obeying the law of the land is basic to being loyal to a country. The Gemara teaches the concept of dina d'malchusa in numerous places {} and Rashbam (c. 1085-1158) explains that it is based on a pact that all citizens of the land accept. {} b. At the same time, dina d'malchusa is not applicable when it conflicts with one's observance of Torah. i. Rambam (1138-1204) states that a Jewish king has no authority to prevent someone from fulfilling a mitzvah. {} ii. R. Shabsai Kohen (Shach 1621-1662) writes that the same applies to a nonJewish king. Dina d'malchusa doesn't apply when it conflicts with observance of mitzvos. {} iii. What this means on a practical level is that loyalty to one's country cannot supersede observance of mitzvos. As an example, one is not exempt from davening Mincha in order to properly celebrate the Fourth of July. III. The Obligation to be Loyal to One's Country a. The Mishna in Avos states that we should pray for the welfare of the government (see the shiur outline on the prayer for the welfare of the governement for more) because anarchy is a terrible thing. {} i. R. Yisrael Lipschitz (1782-1860) writes that we assume that the government is going to operate for the common good of the people and therefore, we pray that they are not distracted by issues of war and turmoil. {} b. R. Shimshon Refael Hirsch (1808-1888) has an essay in Chorev where he stresses the importance of being a loyal citizen. {} c. R. Yosef D. Soloveitchik has a teshuva about chaplains serving in the Korean War (the halachic issues were discussed in a previous shiur outline). In the teshuva he writes about "the duty of the Jew to share in the defense of his homeland." {} IV. Sources of Tension

a. Government decisions must be for the common good of its constituents. i. Mordechai (1250-1298) writes that government representatives must take an oath that what they do is for ‫( לשם שמים‬i.e. for the common good and not for personal interest). {} 1. R. Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz (Chazon Ish 1878-1953) writes that if there are personal interests involved in their decisions, their decisions are null and void. {} ii. R. Moshe Sofer (1762-1839) writes that this doesn't only apply to appointed officials, it applies to voters as well. {} 1. Chasam Sofer's case is one where there were allegations that members of a shul were bribed to support a certain rabbinic candidate. iii. If a voter must vote for the common good, it would follow that a Jewish voter shouldn't vote specifically for Jewish interests, but rather for whatever is best for the city, state or country. Nevertheless, there are a few considerations: 1. This idea may only be true if everyone else is voting with the same ideals. If there are a significant number of other voters who are voting for their own self interests (e.g. a candidate who is better for small business; a candidate who promises to take care of the middle class, etc.), are Jews responsible to follow a higher standard? 2. Does the common good requirement hold true when the law of the land does not demand that a voter vote for the common good? b. Shulchan Aruch states that local needs come before aniyei Eretz Yisrael but the aniyei Eretz Yisrael come before the needs of other cities. {} i. Chasam Sofer notes that this doesn't mean that we ignore one group over another. We simply allocate more resources to one over the other. {} ii. The concept of ‫ עניי עירך קודמין‬applies primarily to tzedakah and chesed. Does it necessarily apply to loyalty? iii. Does this concept apply to governments or just to individual/communal needs? iv. Are the needs of one's country considered a local need or the needs of another city? V. Halachic Literature Dealing with the Conflict a. R. Avraham Gombiner (c.1633-1683) writes that when reciting the prayer for the welfare of the government, '‫ 'ויפיל שונאיו‬does not refer to enemies of other countries, because there are inevitably Jews in the country of the king's enemy and we don't

want to pray for their destruction. Rather, it is referring to enemies living in the kingdom. {} i. This implies that our loyalty to the Jewish people supersedes loyalty to the government. b. Chasam Sofer dealt with a case where the Jewish community was asked to provide soldiers for the military. He made two noteworthy points. {} i. In such a situation silence is the best approach. ii. The government does have the right to draft its citizens and the citizens would be obligated by dina d'malchusa to serve in the military. c. R. Ze'ev Wolf Leiter (b. 1895) writes that it is problematic to serve in the military because it is inevitable that that there will be Jews on the opposing side and it is prohibited to wage war against other Jews. {} d. Moshe Shmuel Glasner (1856-1924) asserts that the rules of war allow one to kill a Jew who is on the opposing side. {} e. R. David Tzvi Hoffman (1843-1921) writes that one must strongly consider the chilul HaShem aspect of draft dodging even if military service is going to cause one to violate Shabbos or other issurim. He further states that an individual cannot state that he will dodge the draft because there are plenty of others who are volunteering. {}

But the high day and triumph of the Jews was during the German occupation. The Jews in Poland are deeply Germanized, and German carries you over Poland because Jews are everywhere. So the Germans found everywhere people who knew their language and could work for them. It was with Jews that the Germans set up their organization to squeeze and drain Poland—Poles and Jews included—of everything it had; it was in concert with Jews that German officials and officers toward the end carried on business all over the country. In every department and region they were the instruments of the Germans, and poor Jews grew rich and lordly as the servants of the masters. But though Germanized, the accusation of the Poles that the Jews are devoted to Germany is unfounded * * * They have no more loyalty to Germany—the home of anti-Semitism —than to Poland. The East Jews are Jews and only Jews.

Morgenthau Report

.‫בבא קמא קיג‬


‫רשב"ם נד: ד"ה דינא דמלכותא‬


‫רמב"ם הל' מלכים ג:ח-ט‬


Leaflet produced in 1920


‫04. ש"ך חו"מ עג:לט‬ ‫ונראה בעיני שלא נאמר דינא דמלכותא‬ ‫דינא אלא בדברים שהמלך גוזר להנאתו‬ ‫כגון המכסים והמסיות וכיוצא בהן, אבל‬ ‫בדברים שבין אדם לחבירו אין לנו לדון‬ ‫אלא על פי תורתנו, כמבואר בקונטרס‬ '‫הראיות ובפ"ק דגיטין ]פסקי ריא"ז ה"ב סי‬ ,['‫ז'[ ובפרק גט פשוט ]שם ה"ה סי' כ‬ ‫עכ"ל. אלא אפילו לשאר פוסקים דסוברים‬ ‫דאמרינן דינא דמלכותא בכל דבר, היינו‬ ‫דוקא מה שאינו נגד דין תורתינו אלא‬ ‫שאינו מפורש אצלינו, אבל לדון בדיני‬ ‫הגוים בכל דבר נגד תורתינו, חלילה, ודאי‬ .‫לא יעשה כן בישראל‬ ‫מש' אבות ג:ב‬ .41

‫תפארת ישראל אבות ג:ב‬


‫מרדכי בבא בתרא ס' תפב‬


‫חורב פרקי המצות ס' כה‬


‫חזון איש בבא בתרא ס' ד‬


‫חתם סופר חו"מ ס' קס‬




‫44. ‪and‬‬ ‫‪Commitment‬‬

‫שלחן ערוך יו"ד רנא:ג‬


‫חתם סופר יו"ד ס' רלד‬


‫תל תלפיות חוברת כד ס' קעד‬


‫מגן אברהם רפד:ז‬


‫שו"ת חתם סופר חלק ו' ס' כט‬


‫בית דוד ס' עא‬

‫25.‬ ‫מלמד להועיל או"ח ס' מב‬ ‫45.‬

R. Chanina, the official of the priests states: Pray for the welfare of the government for if not for fear [of government] man will swallow his friend.

1. Avot 3:2

55. Chorev, Pirkei HaMitzvot no.25

It is obligatory for all Jews to follow this mitzvah: In each country and province where a Jew lives as a guest, resident or refugee, there is an obligation on him to honor and love the king, the governor and the government who shelter and protect him and he must seek their peace and wellbeing with whatever means possible. Regarding the province and its ruler, one should accept and fulfill all obligations incumbent on him, the resident relating to his own land and the guest relating the land where he is situated.

56. Community, Covenant and Commitment

57. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 251:3

One who gives to his adult sons or daughters … or one who gives gifts to his father and they need it, this is a form of charity, and one should give precedence to them over others. Even if the person is not an immediate relative, but they are related, one should give precedence to them over others … The poor of one's home precede the poor of one's city and the poor of one's city precede the poor of another city … residents of Israel precede residents of the Diaspora.


That which we pray "and He shall cause the downfall of [the king's] enemies" refers to the enemies from within the kingdom because there are Jews throughout the world.

Magen Avraham 284:7

59. Teshuvot Beit David no. 71
In truth, if a Jew goes to war, he is going to be fighting against other Jews on the opposite side because there is almost no country where there aren't Jews who are members of the military. I saw in the history book of Yosef ben Gurion that Maskitopolis forced the Jews in his army to fight against other Jews and this is against our religion.

60. Tel Talpiyot, Vol. 24 no. 174
One should know that at times, following the law of the land requires one to give up one's life and [I am] referring to military service, for we know that murder is one of the three transgressions that one must give up one's own life and in each army there is even a small portion of Jews … Is it even logical to question whether it is permissible to draw one's sword or shoot an arrow on the legion because of the prohibition against murder?

Building and Funding Community Institutions
I. Introduction- This shiur outline will discuss the various models for funding a communal institution. Let's look at the following three cases: a. Case 1: At a recent shul board meeting, a dispute arose about plans for renovating the sanctuary. Some board members felt that renovations are long overdue and the shul will not attract new members without these renovations. Other board members felt that membership dues are already very high and given the current economic climate, raising the dues even higher would put a financial strain on many members. The dispute has begun to get contentious and the rabbi and president were asked to mediate the dispute. Are there any compromises that may satisfy both sides? b. Case 2: For years, the shul has had a rotation of members who would help serve and clean up at the weekly kiddush. Every member was part of the rotation. Recently, some members started to hire teenagers to serve and clean up when it was their turn in the rotation. Those people now feel that the shul should hire a custodian for a few hours each week to serve and clean up after the kiddush. Is their claim justified? c. Case 3: A community with eight shuls recently had to spend a significant amount of money to repair the eruv. In past years, each shul paid a small flat annual fee for the maintenance of the eruv. Now that there was an expensive repair, some of the smaller shuls are claiming that they should pay less because their membership represents less than one-eighth of those who use the eruv. Additionally, one shul claims that since very few of its members rely on the eruv, it should be exempt from the assessment. How should the assessment be structured? II. Models presented in the Gemara a. The Gemara discusses how to collect the funds necessary to build a wall around a city. There are three options presented in the Gemara: {} i. A flat rate for each individual in the city. ii. Based on how much money each person has. This doesn't seem to be based on who can afford it, but rather based on how much benefit one receives from the wall. People protecting more money stand to lose more from a robbery than people protecting less money. iii. Based on distance from the edge of the city. Those who are closer to the edge are more likely to get robbed and need the wall more than those in the middle of the city. b. The Gemara discusses the case of a caravan in the desert that had to pay money to get out of a situation: {} i. If they were attacked by marauders and they appeased the marauders with money, people pay based on what they stood to lose.

ii. If they got lost in the desert and required a guide to get them out, one also includes a flat fee because each person's life is on the line. 1. The term ‫ אף לפי הנפשות‬implies that it is a hybrid fee some based on money and a flat fee: a. Rabbeinu Asher (c. 1250-1327) writes that 50% of the cost is based on money and 50% a flat fee. {} b. Shita Mekubetzes quotes Rabbeinu Yehonasan that it is strictly a flat fee. {} c. R. Menachem Meiri (1249-1306) writes that if you hire a guide just to take you out of the desert it is cheaper than if you hire him to protect your money. The basic cost is split evenly and the additional cost is based on the money that they are protecting. {} iii. If there is a previously established practice, that trumps other considerations. c. The previous two cases don't provide subsidies for the poor. Rather, the poor pay less as a function of the benefit that they get. We do find a precedent for subsidizing with regards to school tuition. The Gemara states that R. Yehoshua ben Gamla instituted a system where the community funds the portion of the education that the parents can't afford to pay. {} i. Rama (1520-1572) still places the primary burden on the parents, but the community is responsible for the shortfall. {} ii. The Gemara states when you opt for public funding, there are certain requirements such as the distance a student must travel and large classes. {} 1. This idea is beyond the scope of this presentation, but you can read more about it in an article that I wrote for Shavuot-To-Go 5770. iii. Communal obligation to support Jewish education is a function of a specific takanah. This is not necessarily a model that must be followed for all communal institutions. d. Tosafos ask: In the case of the security wall, why does one automatically assume that if they are protecting money that the payment is based on money? Doesn't the Torah's case of haba b'machteres teach us that cases of robbery are treated as life threatening situations because people try to defend their money? Tosafos answer that that the initial intent of a robber is to take the money. The threat to life only develops afterwards. {} i. One sees from Tosafos that the payment is based on the primary cause and not secondary results.

ii. This idea may explain the dispute regarding payment for the guide in the desert: 1. Rabbeinu Asher considers getting lost in the desert a simultaneous concern for life and money. One would have to assume that they are not extremely concerned about dying, but it is enough of a factor to get nervous and the nervousness may lead to people leaving possessions behind. 2. Rabbeinu Yehonasan and Meiri see it as primarily a life threatening situation. III. The Inherent Requirement to Construct Communal Institutions a. The Tosefta states that the people of a city can force one another to build a shul and purchase a sefer Torah. {} The Tosefta also states that the members of a courtyard can force one another to build an "eruv." {} b. Hagahos Maimonios quotes from Maharam MiRutenberg (1215-1293) that one can learn from the Tosefta that if there is a town with just ten Jews and one wants to leave, he is responsible to find a replacement. If two people want to leave, they split the cost of a replacement, even if one is wealthy and one is poor. {} i. This idea is codified in Shulchan Aruch {}. c. Maharam also discusses the cost of a chazzan and concludes that half of the salary should be split evenly and half should be based on wealth. The wealth component seems to be based on the fact that the wealthy are tied to their homes and can't simply go elsewhere where there is a chazzan. {} i. This idea is codified in Shulchan Aruch. {} d. Rashba (1235-1310) discusses whether the cost of a chazzan or a shamash should be based on wealth or a flat fee. He writes that in principle, each person should pay equally. However, since the wealthier generally prefer a better chazzan and they may be halachically obligated to pay for a better chazzan because of hiddur mitzvah (which would not apply to those who cannot afford), the dayan should use his discretion. {} e. Rabbeinu Yerucham (1290-1350) also discusses the payment for a chazzan and notes that the cost of a basic chazzan should be split evenly. However there are other considerations such as: {} i. Whether they are paying extra because he has a nice voice. ii. Whether property values will rise because the shul will be more glorified. iii. Whether the chazzan has other duties that apply more to the wealthier members.

f. R. Yehuda Mintz (c. 1405-1508) discusses a number of situations where community members did not want to pay for what they considered to be extras. In one case, they thought that too much money was being spent on building the shul. In another case, the elders of the community complained that they shouldn't have to pay for the mikveh because they don't use it. Mahari Mintz makes two important points: {} i. In determining whether an expense is necessary or not, one follows the majority. It is possible that for whatever is listed in the Tosefta (a shul, sefer Torah and eruv), even a minority is sufficient for the basics of the community. ii. The claim by a certain group that they don't use the mikveh is invalid because everyone uses the mikveh before Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. iii. Rama codifies Mahari Mintz's psak. {} 1. R. Moshe Alshich (1508-1593) discusses the case of a community that hired a rabbi to answer their halachic questions. One individual did not want to pay because he claimed that he can answer his own halachic questions. R. Alshich rules that if the rabbi's only function is to answer questions, then this individual is exempt from payment. However, if he also functions as a community leader or dayan, then this individual must pay. {} 2. R. Yehoshua Falk (1555-1614) writes that one can only impose on the entire community if it is a community need such as a mikveh, a wedding hall etc. However, if people decide to collect money for political favors or other such things, it's not considered a communal need and those who don't benefit don't have to pay. {} 3. R. Moshe Sofer (1762-1839) discusses the apparent discrepancy between the ruling of Mahari Mintz and R. Alshich. He suggests that in theory, if everyone was learned, there would be no need to hire a posek. Therefore, those who are learned don't have to pay. However, if the expense relates to something that every community needs, no individual is exempt, even if that individual doesn't need it. {} g. R. Meir Katzenellenbogen (Maharam M'Padua 1482-1565) discusses the cost of building a shul. He notes that it should not be split equally for the following reasons: {} i. With regards to a chazzan it has become tradition to have a hybrid model. ii. It is more logical to base the collection model for building a shul on wealth than it is a chazzan. The cost of a chazzan is an operational expense that is paid only while one is living there. Building a shul is an investment and the wealthy, who tend to stay in the community longer, will benefit more from the building.

iii. The wealthy generally want a nicer building than those who are not as wealthy. iv. Rama codifies this idea. {} h. Maharam MiRutenberg discusses a case where the Jews of the town took turns guarding the city, but they later decided to hire security personnel. He writes that when people are guarding the city personally, each person is equally responsible and it is not based on wealth. However, if they decide to hire security personnel, then it is divided based on wealth. {} i. R. Yisrael Isserlin (Terumas HaDeshen 1390-1460) explains that if it is something that can be done personally by volunteers, it is primarily a responsibility on the people and if someone can't do it, he must pay for a replacement. If it is something that can't be done by volunteers, it is primarily a monetary responsibility and the money is divided based on wealth. {} ii. This idea is codified by Rama. {} IV. Practical Applications a. Case 1 i. According to Mahari Mintz, the majority can determine whether the community/shul should spend money that not everyone thinks is necessary. ii. According to Maharam, Rashba and Rabbeinu Yerucham, if they decide to spend on extras, it should not be divided evenly. The wealthier people should contribute more because they benefit more from it. In practical terms, the money should be raised separately and should not be exclusively part of the dues. b. Case 2 i. This is similar to the case presented by Mordechai/Terumas Hadeshen. If there is no compelling reason to move away from personal volunteering, everyone must do their part. If the volunteers don't do the job adequately and one must hire help, the expenses are not divided evenly. ii. Rama writes that when there is a personal obligation to do something, such as show up for minyan, the community has the authority to fine people who don't fulfill their duties. {} iii. A more common situation is where you have volunteers performing different tasks. One person may do clerical work. One person may help with the computers or website etc, and one with building maintenance. It is unclear whether this is considered something that everyone can participate in and therefore, one can set up an expectation that everyone will volunteer for something.

1. On the one hand, everyone can give time. 2. On the other hand, Mordechai and Terumas HaDeshen were dealing with one simple task that everyone can perform. Once it became something that not everyone can do, the personal obligation dissipated. c. Case 3 i. Building an eruv is something that is incumbent on the whole community. ii. The Gemara already stresses that the minhag hamakom is always the determining factor so the fact that there is precedence for each shul to pay a flat fee is important. However, it is possible that the precedent never really addressed this type of situation. iii. If they were starting from scratch, it would make more sense to collect per family rather than per shul. Building eruv fees into shul membership is simply a convenient way of collecting the money. iv. If the rabbi of a certain shul holds that nobody should use the eruv (e.g. a Sefardic congregation) then the entire shul should be exempt from payment because they are of the opinion that the eruv is invalid. 1. According to Chasam Sofer's analysis, if an individual would never use the eruv under any circumstance, he is technically exempt from the eruv (unless he benefits from the rise in property values because of the eruv). If he would use it in a pressing situation, he must contribute. d. Modern day implementations of hybrid funding models: i. A mikveh will have a campaign to build it, but the operating costs can be based on use. ii. A youth department or adult education program can charge a membership fee so that those who use it pay more. iii. A shul catering hall will be built through capital campaign, but will eventually serve as revenue generator for the shul. In this case, it is arguable that members of the shul should pay less for the rental to compensate for the fact that they already paid for the building fund and/or continue to pay the mortgage.

:‫בבא בתרא ז‬

‫בבא בתרא כא.‬


‫בבא קמא קטז:‬


‫רא"ש בבא קמא י:כב‬


‫רמ"א חו"מ קסג:ג‬


‫שיטה מקובצת בבא קמא קטז:‬


‫בבא בתרא כא.‬


‫מאירי בבא קמא קטז:‬


‫תוס' בבא בתרא ז:‬


‫הגהות מיימוניות הל' תפילה יא:א‬


‫שלחן ערוך או"ח נה:כא‬ ‫תוספתא בבא מציעא יא:יב‬ ‫96.‬


‫תוספתא בבא מציעא יא:ט‬

‫07.‬ ‫שלחן ערוך או"ח נג:כג‬ ‫37.‬

‫שו"ת הרשב"א ה:טו‬


‫שו"ת מהר"י מינץ ס' ז‬


‫רבינו ירוחם נתיב כט:ג‬

‫57.‬ ‫רמ"א חו"מ קסג:ג‬ ‫77.‬

‫שו"ת מהר"ם אלשיך ס' נב‬


‫97. סמ"ע קסג:לב‬ ‫כל צרכי העיר אע"פ שמקצתן אינן צריכין‬ ‫כגון בית חתנות כו' נר' דוקא כל כהני דכל‬ ‫ישראל צריכין לבית חתנות או מקוה אף‬ ‫אם אירע שיחיד אין צריך לו מחמת זקנה‬ ‫או איזה טעם אפ"ה צריך ליתן משא"כ‬ ‫כשהוציאו הוצאה שיעזור להן השר בענין‬ ‫שט"ח שאינו ענין כללי מ"ה כ' מור"ם‬ ‫בס"ס זה והוא מתשו' הרא"ש דאין אחרים‬ ‫צריכין ליתן להם לסיוע.‬

‫שו"ת חתם סופר או"ח ס' קצג‬


‫תרומת הדשן ס' שמה‬


‫שו"ת מהר"ם פדואה ס' מב‬


‫רמ"א חו"מ קסג:ג‬


‫רמ"א חו"מ קסג:ג‬


‫שלחן ערוך או"ח נה:כב‬


‫מדרכי בבא בתרא ס' תעה‬


Our Rabbis taught: If a caravan was travelling through the wilderness and a band of robbers threatened to plunder it, the contribution to be paid by each [for buying them off] will be apportioned in accordance with his possessions [in the caravan,] but not in accordance with the number of persons there. But if they hire a guide to go in front of them, the calculation will have to be made also according to the number of people in the caravan, though they have no right to deviate from the general custom of the donkey-drivers. The donkey-drivers are entitled to stipulate that one who loses his donkey should be provided with another donkey.

1. Baba Kama 116b (adapted from Soncino Translation)

87. Baba Batra 21b
Rav Yehuda has told us in the name of Rav: Nevertheless, the name of that man is to be blessed, his name is Yehoshua ben Gamla, for but for him the Torah would have been forgotten from Israel. For at first if a child had a father, his father taught him, and if he had no father he did not learn at all. By what [verse of the Scripture] did they guide themselves? — By the verse (Devarim 11:19), "And you shall teach them to your children," laying the emphasis on the word ‘you’ (i.e. this should be performed personally). They then made an ordinance that teachers of children should be appointed in Jerusalem. By what verse did they guide themselves? — By the verse (Michah 4:2), "For from Zion shall the Torah go forth." Even so, however, if a child had a father, the father would take him up to Jerusalem and have him taught there, and if not, he would not go up to learn there. They therefore ordained that teachers should be appointed in each province, and that boys should enter school at the age of sixteen or seventeen. [They did so] and if the teacher punished them they used to rebel and leave the school. Eventually, Yehoshua b. Gamla came and ordained that teachers of young children should be appointed in each district and each town and that children should enter school at the age of six or seven.

88. Tosefta, Baba Metzia 11:12
The people of the city can compel one another to build a synagogue and to purchase a Torah scroll and scrolls of the Prophets.

89. Teshuvot HaRashba 5:15

You asked if the salary of the cantor and the sexton should be divided equally among the congregants or whether it should be divided based on wealth. Answer: It is logical that according to the letter of the law … it should be divided equally because their hiring doesn't relate to wealth but to [help fulfill] each individual's obligations, the cantor in order to allow the public to fulfill their obligation [to pray] and the sexton serves to maintain the synagogue. Nevertheless, there are other factors, such as, if there is a cantor who is worthy and available for a lesser salary, but there is one that has a better voice for a greater salary. It would seem that [if they hire the more expensive cantor], one follows a wealth based model … [because] one is required to honor God based on what one can afford … Similarly, if the sexton's job also includes collection of funds as is practiced in these lands, it would seem that wealth is a factor in determining the source of his salary. These matters should be determined by the local rabbinic court. Everyone must contribute to all needs of the city such as a wedding hall or a mikveh even though some people don't require them.

90. Rama, Choshen Mishpat 163:3

91. Rama, Choshen Mishpat 163:3
If the city guards were personally guarding the city (on a voluntary basis) and they arranged with the government to pay a fixed amount per year (to hire professional guards), it is collected based on wealth even though the original duties were distributed evenly. Nevertheless, it is only in this type of situation. However, if the non-Jews are sharing in the duties and the Jews hire two or three to guard when it is their turn, the duty still falls on each individual and the cost is split evenly regardless of wealth.

92. Rama, Orach Chaim 55:22

In a place where there is no consistent minyan in the synagogue, the members can compel each other through fines to attend the minyan so that the consistency can be maintained.

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