A very nice article appeared in today’s Jerusalem Post about Billionaire Bernie Marcus, the founder and head of the mega-successful Home Depot chain. The article states that he is one of the “top charitable donors in the United States.”
In reading the article, I am struck by the contrasts in it. On the one hand, Mr. Marcus wants to see Israel self-sufficient and a constitutional democracy and so founded the Israel Democracy Institute. On the other hand, when speaking of chessed, the article instead refers to charity; “He gives primarily to Jewish charities, medical research, and organizations which help develop entrepreneurship.” Developing entreprenurialship is praiseworthy, but by no means unique. There are numerous others involved in developing entrenprenurialship. And it’s very nice that as a boy, he saved his ice cream money each week to buy a tree in Israel.
But the $50,000 questions are; If he really wants to help Israel to be a true constitutional government, will it be done according to Torah? Will I see him next Wednesday at a very special luncheon for Manhigut Yehudit? Will his impressive list of donations include the Chazani’s funeral bill and help for a lot of expelled Gush Katif and Shomron refugee families to get back on the feet and resume the self-sufficiency and non-dependence that they enjoyed for decades and their valuable contributions to Israel’s agricultural sector? Will he help these people from whom the Hard-hearted Strongman Sharon stole everything at legalized gunpoint in attempt to break them of their Yiddishkiet, seperate them from their friends, their workplaces, shuls and their beloved Eretz Yisrael? Will Mr. Marcus be part of the solution, or part of the problem?