Thursday, July 10, 2008

Accepting Charity from an Idolater

The Gemora (Daf Yomi: Sotah 47b) states: When there increased the number of Jews who accepted charity from idolaters, the idolaters were on top and Israel was on bottom.

The Gemora (Nazir 62a) cites a Scriptural source to teach us that an idolater can vow vowed-offerings and freewill-offerings just like Jews.

The Haga’os Ashri (in Bava Basra) brings the following question in the name of the Maharich: Why are we not allowed to accept charity from an idolater, but we are permitted to accept his korbanos?

He answers in the name of his Rebbe: A voluntary korban is not brought to serve as atonement, and therefore, we are not concerned if they offer a sacrifice, for those do not bring about forgiveness and they will not serve as a protection for them. However, one who gives charity receives atonement for his sins, and merits protection for his good deed. It is not in our best interests to assist them in this matter.