Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 248:1-2
כל אדם חייב ליתן צדקה, אפילו עני המתפרנס מן הצדקה חייב ליתן ממה שיתנו לו. ומי שנותן פחות ממה שראוי ליתן, בית דין היו כופין אותו ומכין אותו מכת מרדות עד שיתן מה שאמדוהו ליתן, ויורדים לנכסיו בפניו ולוקחין ממנו מה שראוי לו ליתן. ממשכנים על הצדקה, אפילו בערב שבת.
Every person is required to give tzedakah (charity). Even the poor who are supported from tzedakah are required to give from what is given to them. One who gives less than they should would be compelled by the authorities and whipped until they gave what was estimated as their means. The authorities could even seize their property before their very eyes, and take from them what they should have given. The authorities can seize real estate for the tzedakah payment, even on Sabbath eve. [translation by Mechon Hadar]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is the significance of the assertion that everyone, including the poor, is obligated to give?

2. How do you interpret the force of the obligation to give tzedakah overwhelming the protections of private property?

3. Imagine the scene: on Friday afternoon, the Jewish authorities seize the house of a family that does not give what it can. What emotions would be at play? What kind of message would this send to the family's children, to onlookers, and to the neighbors, both Jewish and gentile?

Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)