Mishna Pe'a 8:9
מי שיש לו חמשים זוז והוא נושא ונותן בהם הרי זה לא יטול וכל מי שאינו צריך ליטול ונוטל אינו נפטר מן העולם עד שיצטרך לבריות וכל מי שצריך ליטול ואינו נוטל אינו מת מן הזקנה עד שיפרנס אחרים משלו ועליו הכתוב אומר (ירמיהו יז) ברוך הגבר אשר יבטח בה' והיה ה' מבטחו
One who has fifty dinars which he uses for commerce, should not take [tzedakah]. Anyone who does not need to take [tzedakah] and takes, will come to need others before leaving the world. And anyone who needs to take [tzedakah] and does not take, will eventually support others, before he dies of old age. About such a person it says [Jeremiah 17:7], "Blessed is the person who trusts in God; who makes God their security." [translation by Mechon Hadar]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why does the Mishna calculate poverty, for the purposes of tzedakah, in terms of one's liquid, rather than total, assets?

2. Why is it necessary to have a homiletic punishment for people who violate these laws?

3. What value is there in not accepting tzedakah, even when one could take it? Does one who needs tzedakah and accepts it also possess special merit?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)