Rabbi Israel, the Maggid of Ksnitz, asked a rich man what he usually ate. The rich man was rather ascetic; he proudly described to the Chassidic master his one daily meal in which he ate and drank nothing more than bread with salt and a jug of water. “Fool,” scolded the Maggid. “Go home and eat meat and drink aged wine. If the rich dine on meat and wine then you will at least feel the poor deserve bread and salt. But if you subsist on dry bread and salt, you may come to believe the poor can live on stones.”
Suggested Discussion Questions:
1) Do you agree with this parable? Are the rich obligated to live more lavishly than the poor?
2) Can the rich man better empathize with the poor by remaining more ascetic?
3) How does this relate to us today?
Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)