The Institution of halukkah: a historical review

The Hebrew word halukkah, meaning ‘division’, has, from the Middle Ages, been used to describe the collection and distribution of money to Jews living in the Holy Land, and especially in Jerusalem, to enable them to study with? out having to earn a living. The duty to help the poor is derived from Deuteronomy 15:7-8: ‘If there be among you a needy man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates, in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy needy brother; but thou shalt surely open thy hand unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth.’ Rabbinic commentators concluded that the poor of one’s own township (‘of thy gates’) take priority over those elsewhere, but, more importantly, that the inhabitants of the Land of Israel have priority

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Written by

Cecil Bloom

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