17 Marcheshvan 5780Erev Shabbat Kodesh
And Hashem said, "Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do, now that Abraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice, in order that Hashem might bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him." (Bereishit 18.18-19)Stone Edition Chumash Commentary...
The implication of verse 19 is that the seed of Sodom's wickedness lay in its failure to abide by the principles that Abraham would inculcate in his offspring. The cruelties of Sodom have become part of the language as the epitome of selfishness, callousness and depravity, but the root of their evil was greed. Sodom was a rich and fertile region and, as such, it was a magnet for people seeking to make their fortune, as it was for Lot. But the Sodomites wanted to maintain their own prosperity and not be encumbered by a flood of poor immigrants. The wealthy and well-connected Lots of the world were welcome in Sodom, because they would give more to the economy than they would take. To discourage undesirable newcomers, however, the Sodomites institutionalized state cruelty, so that it became a crime to feed a starving person or offer alms to a beggar. Even the sexual perversion for which Sodom is notorious was employed to keep visitors away. According to one opinion of the Sages, this cruelty stemmed from an attitude of, "What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours (Avot 5:10), "or, in the popular idiom, "Neither a lender nor a borrower be." Such selfishness descends to cruelty and perversion - and a metropolis that elevates such behavior to a legitimate way of life forfeits the right to exist.
Volunteers made headlines...when 12 of them were charged with misdemeanor offenses after feeding homeless people in El Cajon, California, but the ban against feeding the homeless is not unique to the city. Dozens across the United States have similar policies that ban food-sharing in public places.
After the charges in El Cajon, activists and attorneys said...that they would file a lawsuit against the city regarding the ban. Leaders called the policy unconstitutional and discriminatory, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Similar stories have been reported across the nation. In December 2017, Adelen McLean was issued a ticket for feeding the homeless in Atlanta's Hurt Park, and in January 2017, seven people in Tampa were arrested for feeding the homeless without a permit.
...NLCHP has seen an increase in laws criminalizing homelessness. "This will continue, especially with the recent beck-pedaling of the federal Justice Department," she said.
In December 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Department of Justice pulled back on an Obama-era guidance issued to state and local courts that advocated against imposing fines and fees on poor people.
...Between 2013 and 2015, 26 cities passed food-sharing bans, according to reports from the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Citing the Bible, Federal Lawsuit Challenges Houston’s Ban on Feeding the Homeless
...Randall Kallinen, who has filed numerous civil rights lawsuits in Houston, is representing the activists. In interviews with the Observer, he described the ordinance as “totally ridiculous” and part of an effort to “get the homeless out of town.”
Cities are enacting politics to keep homeless people out of sight and uphold a social order riven by racial and economic inequality
~ SHABBAT SHALOM ~