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Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg @TheRaDR
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If the Bible is so against systemic solutions to poverty, why is a jubilee year declared that releases people from debt to alleviate intergenerational poverty? What is leket, skikhah, pe’ah, and maasar if not taxes meant to create a safety net for those in need? 1/
Maasar. Not a voluntary contribution. An obligation.
Leket. Not voluntary, but obligatory.
Shikhḥah. Not voluntary. Obligatory.
Pe’ah. Obligatory. Lev 19:9. These are taxes, y’all.
And yovel/jubilee might be better systemic solution to poverty than anything we do in America in 2017.…
Oh and hai Christian Scripture
I want to say more about Jubilee/Yovel, because it's important and worth spelling out. Every 50 (or 49--there's debate) years, a special year is declared: debts are cancelled, slaves & prisoners are freed, land reverts back to its original owner. It's a social rebooting.
Think about it: Everybody starts where they start on the board. Some people succeed and amass wealth, others struggle, fall on hard times. But instead of society leaving those disadvantaged to get stuck in a many-generations cycle of poverty, there's a reset button.
At yovel, all that property I managed to accumulate? Now goes back to the original owners so they get another shot this next cycle, rather than making it so that the great-great grandchildren of that one rich guy have forever an unearned advantage.
It's capitalism in that there's a chance to work and earn wealth. But it's not forever. At yovel, debts are forgiven. Your great-grandchildren don't have to carry them. Even generation gets a clean slate if you inherited that debt. We all start over together.
Prisoners are freed.

I am trying to imagine what a yovel principle could do in the age of mass incarceration. How many lives that would save, opportunities that would open. The spirit of the thing is a slate-wiping, so in my imagination they wouldn't carry the record.
A second chance.
Indentured servants/slaves are freed--the radical stratification of labor is reworked. Again, some people get a new chance. Some people lose some unearned privileges & have to now venture forth on their merit, not grandpa's earnings.

(Yes slavery is abhorrent duh thank you)
There were some issues with the system, as there are with every system. The early Rabbis had to create a legal loophole so that people wouldn't stop lending to the poor ('the yovel year is coming up; I'll never see my money again!').
But I think about the intent--and probable impact--of this idea up against how actively members of the GOP are working to harm American citizens this year, and the contrast is staggering.
You guys, we can do so much better than what we have in this country now.

We have to work for it.

Step one is making loud holy noise to try to kill the #GOPTaxScam

There are a lot of steps after that.

This is part of our obligation.

We're all in this together.
BRAIN HICCUP CLARIFICATION (I'm operating on not enough sleep for not enough days in a row): It's not even just yovel that cancels debts--it's shmitta--once every 7 years that happens. The land reversion & freeing folks happens once every 49/50, but debt forgiveness is every 7!
Sorry for missing something basic as I tweet on not enough sleep, in-between other Sunday activities....
Also, y'all, if you like this thread you'll probably enjoy this piece as well, more on the GOP policy's exploitation and how the Bible might regard it:…
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