Can A Bagel Have Four Corners? A Ten Commandments’ Tale

whoever needs come and eat

B Taanit 20b

the jta reports on a missouri bagel shop which had a talmudic inspired policy to assist those in need. jta.org

goldie’s bagels, in columbia missouri, instituted a policy in which anyone who cannot afford a bagel and a coffee is still welcome in the store. a special tab has been established; the neighborhood tab. if an individual, who cannot afford to pay, they simply place it on the neighborhood tab. the store subsidizes the tab and also accepts donations to cover it as well.

“it’s a bagel and a coffee but when you’ve slept on the street at 7 a.m., a bagel and a coffee is really helpful,” ms. amanda rainey said. “and also we learn people’s names, we check in on them. we treat them like people. and then other people in the community see that and hopefully are inspired to act better.” jta.

the torah provides that “when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely remove the corner of your field during your harvesting, and you shall not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. [rather,] you shall leave these for the poor person and for the stranger.” leviticus 23: 22. implied within this is that the poor or the stranger will do their own physical labor to gather their food. perhaps, they will learn how to do it so that they could either become a farmer or be hired by one.

in modern times, many who have does not have corners to allow for the poor to act in a self-sufficient manner. in modern times, there are those in the homeless population who are unwilling to accept rules and responsibilities to others. these individuals would not take to kindly to be required to gather their own food. many prefer the handout as they live their lives in a world of substance abuse and unwillingness to work with other for the betterment of themselves. thus, goldie’s bagels is making an innovative step towards fulfilling a thousands of year old commandment to take care of those in need.

while i familiar with homeless people who legitimately are struggling to survive during difficult times of their lives [and for which i have assisted], there is the other segment of the homeless population that challenges the charitable. for example, starbucks opened their bathrooms to those in need. this, i am also grateful for. they, however, were subject to the homeless who took advantage of the policy and ruined it for others. as a result of the policy, starbucks closed stores and placed their both employees and customers at risk.

living in venice, as soon as starbucks’ bathroom policy was announced, we laughed. it was the end of starbucks. we knew it. many of the homeless in venice are opportunists. they took advantage of the great weather and set up shop. i am convinced that most of them had substance abuse problems and chronically refuse to get along with others. over time, there were only two homeless people i came to respect. one would clean up the parking lot at very small shopping center and he would receive food or money from the establishment. another man, who was not a substance user, would travel around collecting bottle and cans to collect on their return.

with this skepticism in mind, i hope the best for goldie’s bagels charitable project. i hope that some of the homeless will use the energy from their bagel and coffee to take on tasks to get back on their feet. i hope that some of the homeless with enjoy their meal and show the upmost respect for the shop and its customers. i hope that the homeless who take advantage of and who are destructive avoid the place. i hope that they allow for the homeless, who are in need and who are respectful, to enjoy and partake on this project for many years to come.

in sum, as a wise judge and friends used to say, “there is always someone out there who is seeking to game the system.”

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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