For some, April 15th is a scary day: tax day in the USA.
This year, I owed nearly $1,700 to the Federal and State government. I had been self-employed in the previous year, and self-employed people get a “double tax” hit from paying their share and “employers” share of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
I have to admit that I was pretty angry to have to pay that much to the IRS and I posted a comment about it on Facebook. Nothing political, just simply the message, “Dear President Obama, please spend my $1,700 wisely. I know I could have.”
What happened after that was a flood of Jews discussing Jewish law and taxation. My “liberal” friends noting that the Torah says sacrifices should be based on what one can afford (justification for an Income Tax), while my more conservative and libertarian friends made the argument for a National Sales Tax based on the idea that wealthy people spend more, and thus would pay more into the system.
I’m not interested in talking about politics. Sure, we could bat the ol’ Talmud ball back and forth on everything from school vouchers to zoning laws. What I’m more interested in is the fact that I posted a completely non-Jewish comment, and immediately what came to mind was the Torah.
Regardless of how one feels about any political issue, it is amazing that we can immediately look to Judaism for the answer. We’ll never agree on certain things (in fact, most of the Talmud is a big disagreement), but at least we’re all looking at the same source for the answer. -Patrick Aleph