Exodus Rabbah 31:12
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שמות רבה (וילנא) פרשה לא: יב
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את העני עמך: אין בעולם קשה מן העניות שהוא קשה מכל יסורין שבעולם, אמרו רבותינו כל היסורין לצד אחד והעניות לצד אחד.
The poor among you: Nothing is harder than poverty; it is the hardest affliction in the world. Our Masters said: All the afflictions are on one side [of the scales] and poverty is on the other side. This text was compiled by Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY, for Rabbi Matalon’s teaching on the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation. Their work was based on and inspired by The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What makes poverty "the hardest affliction"?

2. As social justice activists, what can we do to solve the problem of poverty? Aside from directly giving charity, how can we work on root causes of poverty?

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Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)