Martin Buber, Tales of Hasidim: The Early Masters, “The Money that Stayed in the House”
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Never did the Baal Shem keep money in his house overnight. When he returned from a journey, he paid all the debts which had accumulated in his absence and distributed whatever he had left, among the needy. Once he brought a large amount of money back from a journey, paid his debts, and gave the rest away. But in the meantime, his wife had taken a little of the money so that she might not have to buy on credit for a few days. In the evening, the Baal Shem felt something impeding his prayer. He went home and said: “Who took of the money?” His wife confessed it was she who had done so. He took the money from her and had it distributed among the poor that very evening. pg 51 [Translated from German]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What was the Baal Shem’s financial model? Why did he give his leftover money away?

2. Did his wife do anything wrong by wanting to pay without incurring debt? Why or why not?

3. How can we translate the Baal Shem’s actions into our lives today?

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Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)