Sedra Ki Setze, 120 words – Between Man and Man
One must not ignore co-religionists who require help. It is a Mitzvah to assist them, but only if the principal participates [when he is able to] – Rashi Imo, 22:3
When the principal does not wish to participate
there is no obligation to assist
but might there still be a Mitzvah?
or is there no Mitzvah at all
and perhaps it is even wrong to assist in such circumstances
Rashi notes that the principal spites those who come to his assistance, saying, “You know what? This is your Mitzvah, so if you want it, help yourselves.”
We must wonder if it is only when the principal scorns us or the Mitzvah that there is an exemption, or this biting comment is what we might generally expect from such an ingrate?
We must grapple with this issue whenever we wish to extend help to those who we feel have dug themselves into their own cesspit of foolish life-choices, be it drugs, or bad business choices.