Monday, July 05, 2010

An Appropriate Maharsha

A Guest Post By E. Fink

(The Talmud in Kesuvos 66B - 67A relates the fall of the Nakdimin ben Gurion fortune. He went from a man who was fabulously wealthy to a man who was completely destitute. The Talmud wonders how it was possible that a man that was as generous as Nakdimin could lose his fortune. We would expect a man who gives charity to have Divine assistance and have his treasure preserved. The Talmud answers that he gave charity for the honor and recognition of being philanthropic and that is why he lost his wealth.)

The Maharsha (16th Century Poland) on Kesuvos 67A (Chiddushei Aggados):
"There are many wealthy people of our time who amass their fortunes dishonestly and with desecration of God's name by stealing from the Gentiles. They pursue honor by donating generous sums of money to charity. They hope their prominence earns them honor and "mi she-berach" blessings in order to further enhance their fame. This kind of behavior is purely a mitzva haba b'aveira (a good deed that results from a sin) and this kind of wealth has no "salt" and no perpetuity as we see with Nakdimin."
I wonder if the editors of our "frum" newspapers ever learned that Maharsha...

As a friend remarked, since when is a criminal's sentencing on par with the Ancient Romans flaying the flesh of R' Akiva?

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