Another explanation for [the verse]: "Fortunate is he who considers the poor." How strong is the reward of the needy before G‑d [and blessed is he who gives charity to the needy].

Rabbi Hiya said: I wondered about this passage, "For G‑d hears the poor". (Psalms 69:34) Does He hearken only unto the poor and no others? Rabbi Shimon said: It is because they are closer to the King, as is written: "A broken and a contrite heart, O L-rd, You will not despise". (Psalms 51:19) And there is no one in the world who has a broken heart like a needy person. Rabbi Shimon also said: Come and see. All the people of the world appear before G‑d in body and soul. But the poor appear before G‑d only in soul and G‑d is closer to the soul than to the body. [Thus the poor man's prayer is better received before Him.]

There was a poor man who lived in the neighborhood of Rabbi Yisa. No one paid any attention to him. He himself was bashful and did not press upon other people. One day he became ill. Rabbi Yisa came in to visit him and heard a voice saying: "Wheel, Wheel. The soul is rolling towards me but his time has not yet arrived. Woe to the inhabitants of the city, for there is no one among them to return his soul to him." Rabbi Yisa arose and put a small measure of pomegranate juice into his mouth. A sweat broke out in his face and his spirit returned to him.

Afterwards, he came to visit and he inquired about him. He said: "I swear, Rabbi, the soul left me and reached the King's throne, and wanted to remain there. But G‑d wanted to award you, and they announced of you: When Rabbi Yisa's spirit will depart he shall be bound in a particularly small spot that his colleagues shall arouse in the land. And they have prepared three chairs that are standing ready for you and your colleagues." From that day onward, the inhabitants of the city watched [out for that poor man and provided for his needs].

Another incident occurred when a poor person passed before Rabbi Yitzchak with [only] half a coin of silver in his hand. He said to Rabbi Yitzchak: "Save my and my children's souls [i.e. give us charity so that we can buy food to eat]." He [Rabbi Yitzchak] said: "How can I make whole your souls, when I have [also] only a half coin?" He said: "I will complete it hereby with the half coin I have in my possession." He took it out and gave it to him.

They showed him in his dream how he was traveling along the edge of the Great Sea and they wanted to throw in him into it. He described how Rabbi Shimon stretched out his hand towards him. And that poor person came, took him out and gave him into the hands of Rabbi Shimon, and he was saved. When he awoke, his mouth uttered this passage: "Blessed is he who considers the poor: G‑d will deliver him in the day of evil."

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this in Hok LeYisrael?

We read here the tremendous rewards in considering the needs of the poor and assisting them, both in this world and in the world to come.

What does this mean, and why is it revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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