Sifra on Leviticus 25:35
ספרא בהר פרשה ה
כי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו עמך אל תניחנו שירד, הא למה זה דומה למשוי על גבי החמור עודנו במקומו אחד תופש בו ומעמידו, נפל לארץ חמשה אין מעמידים אותו
“If your kin is waxen poor, and his/her means fail with you; then you shall strengthen him/her, (whether a stranger or a native, so that s/he can live with you)” (Lev. 25:35). Don't allow her/him to fall into utter poverty. The injunction may be explained by analogy with a load on a donkey: As long as it is standing up, one may grab it [to keep from falling] and keep it standing upright. Once s/he has fallen, five people cannot make it stand up again. [Translation by Hillel]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How can we best prevent a donkey from falling down? What happens if we hesitate?

2. What might be a more modern analogy than the load on a donkey?

3. How can we prevent today’s donkeys from toppling over?

4. How does this text propel us into action?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)