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Home :: Pichifkes :: Once Again About Charity

Once Again About Charity

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The world is set up such way that everything yields to some definite laws in it. Those laws are established by G-d since Six Days of Creation. The influence of some definite allocation of planets onto human's fate at the moment of his birth is one of those laws too. This means what we call astrology nowadays. However, one should not forget that despite that influence of stars, the very moment of human's birth is defined by G-d. The luminaries are merely instruments with help of which Hashem endows human with one or another fate and by which this fate can be partially read.

However, there exist three entities enabled to change human's fate and cancel even the most severe sentence. They are:

- Teshuva (sincere repentance - Biblical language translation);

- Tefila (prayer - Biblical language translation);

- Tzedaka (charity - Biblical language translation).

Some add two more things to here:

- change of residence (considered to be changed after thirty days of permanent residence at new place);

- change of name.

It's written in Talmud (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 156a):

"It was recorded in rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi's notebook. He who was born on the first day of the week (Sunday) shall be a man (perfect as for one side of his character - RASHI's comment) with nothing from the other side. What does with nothing from the other side mean? Shall we say, with nothing from the good side? Surely rav Ashi said: I was born on the first day of the week (and it's clear such person like him possessed good traits). Probably, it means there will be nothing from the evil side in him? Rav Ashi says: me and Dimi bar Kakuzta were both born on the first day of the week, I've become the king (head of Yeshiva) and he is the head of gangsters (in other words, he who was born on the first day of the week will be the first, as this very day is the first one by the World Creation, but it's also understood from here that both righteous and villains are born on this day - RASHI's comment). Rather it means either completely virtuous or completely wicked person is he who was born on the first day of the week. What is the reason? Because light and darkness were created on that day. He who was born on the second day of the week (Monday) will be bad-tempered. What is the reason? Because the waters were divided thereon (so will be he estranged from other people through his temper - RASHI's comment). He who was born on the third day of the week (Tuesday) will be wealthy and unchaste (lecherous - RASHI's comment). What is the reason? Because herbs were created thereon (as it's written (Bereshit 1:11): And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs - herbs get fruitful and multiply no end, they shoot up and mature very rapidly - it's a lechery, there's no "according to its kind" commandment as for herbs, they continually intermingle with other herbs and absorb one from another - RASHI's comment). He who was born on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday) will be wise and prominent (bright - RASHI's comment). What is the reason? Because the luminaries were suspended thereon (and it's written (Mishlei 6:23): ). He who was born on the fifth day of the week (Thursday) will practise benevolence. What is the reason? Because the fishes and birds (which are fed by God's lovingkindness) were created thereon. He who was born on the sixth day of the week (Friday) will be a seeker. Rabbi Nahman bar Itzhak commented: a seeker after good deeds (just as on the eve of Saturday one seeks to complete the details necessary for the proper observance of Saturday). He who was born on the seventh day of the week (Saturday) will die on the same day, because the great day of Saturday was desecrated on his account. Rabba ben rabbi Shila observed: And he shall be called a great and holy man (not all born on Saturday die on Saturday, but only those who are very holy - MAHARSHA's comment).

Rabbi Hanina said to his disciples: go out and tell the son of Levi, not the constellation of the day but that of the hour is the determining influence. He who is born under the constellation of Sun (when the sun, as one of the planets, wields its influence on man) will be a distinguished (bright and handsome) man: he will eat and drink of his own and his secrets will lie uncovered; if a thief, he will have no success. He who is born under Venus (during the hours ruled over by Venus) will be wealthy and unchaste. What is the reason? Because fire was created therein. He who is born under Mercury will be of a retentive memory and wise. What is the reason? Because Mercury is Sun's scribe. He who is born under Moon will be a man to suffer evil, building and demolishing, demolishing and building, eating and drinking not of his own and his secrets will remain hidden: if a thief, he will be successful (just like Moon, which waxes and wanes, has no light of its own but merely reflects Sun's light, and is in general dark). He who is born under Saturn will be a man whose plans will be frustrated. Others say: all nefarious designs against him will be frustrated. He who is born under Jupiter will be a righteous. Rabbi Nahman bar Itzhak observed: right-doing in good deeds (charitable – RASHI's comment). He who is born under Mars will be a shedder of blood. Rabbi Ashi observed: either a surgeon, a thief, a slaughterer, or a circumciser. Rabba said: I was born under Mars (and am none of these). Abaye retorted: you too inflict punishment and kill (as far as you are judge, not to be taken literally, of course)."

However, Talmud brings the following stories right after those lines.

Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 156b:

"Shmuel and Ablat were sitting, while certain people were going to a lake. Said Ablat to Shmuel: that man is going but will not return, for a snake will bite him and he will die. He will go and return, replied Shmuel. While they were sitting he went and returned. Thereupon Ablat arose and threw off his knapsack and found a snake therein cut up and lying in two pieces. Said Shmuel to him, what did you do (to escape your fate)? Every day we pooled our bread and ate it but today one of us had no bread, and he could be ashamed. Said I to them, I will go and collect the bread (throw into his basket). When I came to him, I pretended to take bread from him, so that he should not be ashamed. You have done a good deed, said he to him. Then Shmuel went out and lectured (Mishlei 10:2): but charity delivers from death, and this does not mean from an unnatural death, but from death itself.

Rabbi Akiva had a daughter. Now, astrologers told him, on the day she enters the bridal chamber a snake will bite her and she will die. He was very worried about this. On that day of her marriage she took a brooch and stuck it into the wall and by chance it penetrated sank into the eye of a snake. The following morning, when she took it out, the snake came trailing after it. What did you do, her father asked her. A poor man came to our door in the evening, she replied, and everybody was busy at the banquet, and there was none to attend to him. So I took the portion which was given to me and gave it to him. You have done a good deed, said he to her. Thereupon rabbi Akiva went out and lectured (Mishlei 10:2): but charity delivereth from death, and not merely from an unnatural death, but from death itself."

Well, is there any necessity to add something else to that?

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