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Poverty and Halakhic Agency: Gleanings from the Literature of Rabbinic Palestine

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image of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

AbstractThe dynamic of charity works to figure the poor as outsider, both to the circle of donors, and, more fundamentally, to the sphere of agency. The current article examines ways in which the halakhic system, as constructed in rabbinic Palestine of the classical period, mitigates this dynamic, both by highlighting aspects of agency at work in the very act of receiving and consuming charity, and, at greater length, by collecting and analyzing cases in which the halakhic system enables the poor, through charity and other means, not only to survive, but to act as halakhic agents themselves.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame130 Malloy Hall, Notre Dame, IN


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