Summary Lesson 17: “The Law Of Tithing And The Law Of The Fast”
- GOD’S MATH IS DIFFERENT THAN MAN’S: The Law of Tithing was given as a part of the plan to teach, by means of serving each other, how to develop a total commitment to serving Him. God’s instruction is to bring the tithes, 10%, to him so that the remaining 90% will go farther than the 100% ever could.
- JEWISH VIEW OF TITHING: There is still some biblical meaning, yet Jews do not have an organized way of collecting and distributing tithes. Anciently, tithes were used to take care of the Jerusalem Temple. After it’s destruction, a memory was perpetuated with a hope for its return constantly repeated before and after every meal as well as every prayer at a grave site. The principle of tithes, however, has diminished, and now includes offerings for the needy.
- OBLIGATION EXTENDS TO ALL: “Everybody is obliged to give charity; even one . . . dependent . . . should give to those less fortunate than himself. To give a tenth of one’s wealth to charity is considered to be a ‘middling’ virtue, to give a 20th or less is to be “mean”; but the rabbis decided that one should not give more than a fifth lest he become impoverished himself and dependent on charity. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- SCALE OF VIRTUOUS GIVING: “Maimonides lists seven ways of giving . . . (1) but sadly; (2) less than is fitting, but in good humor; (3) only after having been asked to; (4) before being asked; (5) in such a manner that the donor does not know who the recipient is, (6) in such a manner that the recipient does not know who the donor is; and (7) in such a way that neither the donor nor the recipient knows the identity of the other.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- CHARITY AND FASTING IN THE ISLAMIC RELIGION: Charity is one of the basic five pillars or tenants of faith, generally considered to be two percent. “Muhammad, a seventh century C.E. merchant of Mecca, and founder of Islam, is considered by believers to have been the last of a line of prophets . . . acceptance of Muhammad’s teaching implies (1) belief in Allah as the only god . . . (2) pray five times daily . . . (3) fast from dawn to sunset in the month of Ramadan . . . (4) pay . . . alms (charity); and to (5) go on at least one pilgrimage to Mecca, site of the holy Black Stone, the Ka’aba.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- JEWISH FASTING: In addition to tithes, religious Jews have a monthly fasting day. Fasting is never done on a Sabbath day because it is a day of joy, and fasting (to many) is less than joyful! Yom Kippur (a High Day – hence, treated as a Sabbath) is the only exception. On that day, fasting begins an hour before that Sabbath and continues until an hour afterwards. The book of Jonah is read by religious Jews on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, accompanied by a full day of fasting and prayer. The prayers on that day ask for forgiveness and for the Lord’s spirit to be with them. Other days of fasting always include prayers.