Babylonian Talmud, Baba Batra 11a
תלמוד בבלי בבא בתרא יא.
תניא: אמרו עליו על בנימין הצדיק שהיה ממונה על קופה של צדקה, פעם אחת באתה אשה לפניו בשני בצורת, אמרה לו: רבי, פרנסני! אמר לה: העבודה, שאין בקופה של צדקה כלום! אמרה לו: רבי, אם אין אתה מפרנסני, הרי אשה ושבעה בניה מתים! עמד ופרנסה משלו.
A story is told of Binyamin HaTzaddik, who was the supervisor of his community’s Tzedakah fund. Once, when there was a shortage of food, a woman came to him and said, “Rabbi, feed me!” He replied, “I swear that there is no more money left in the Tzedakah fund.” She said, “If you do not feed me, a woman and her seven children will die.” So he fed her from his own money. [Translation by Danny Siegel]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What does this text imply about the responsibilities of the administrator of a Tzedakah fund? What does it imply about any other individual's responsibilities? Where are the limits of these responsibilities?

2. How do you think Binyamin HaTzaddik would have reacted had the petitioner asked for money for something other than food? If the petitioner had been only one person? If the petitioner had been male?

3. How does Binyamin's name relate to his position? To his actions in this story?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)