I've always wondered if there was a minimum standard of living mandated by the Torah. If there is, what is it? And if not, how does the Torah relate to this matter? Is it according to the individual's emotional/mental needs or is it universal?

In other words, what's the ideal level of material comfort the Torah requires or endorses? If there is such a thing.

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    sefaria.org/… – Heshy Nov 12 '18 at 19:30
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    he.wikisource.org/wiki/… – Loewian Nov 12 '18 at 22:25
  • @Heshy Those mishnayot can be interpreted as essentially determining ‘how much a person needs to get on his feet’. They’re certainly not commenting on lifestyle. – Oliver Nov 13 '18 at 4:24
  • @Loewian Proof for an ordinary person of the modern world from the (relatively late) chapter in Avot devoted to ‘kinyan Torah’ is arguable, IMO. – Oliver Nov 13 '18 at 4:31
  • @Heshy Poor people who come to the granary have a different standard than those who come to the door. If someone knocks on your door for tzedakah (and can be confirmed to actually be needy), the obligation is to give him whatever he needs, however much that may be. – DonielF Jan 28 at 16:57

For the average person, I think the answer’s going to be “everyone is different.” But conveniently you ask for the ideal, and to that I have an explicit Braisa for you (quoted as Avos 6:4):

כַּךְ הִיא דַּרְכָּהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה, פַּת בְּמֶלַח תֹּאכַל, וּמַיִם בִּמְשׂוּרָה תִשְׁתֶּה, וְעַל הָאָרֶץ תִּישַׁן, וְחַיֵּי צַעַר תִּחְיֶה, וּבַתּוֹרָה אַתָּה עָמֵל, אִם אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה כֵן, (תהלים קכח) אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ. אַשְׁרֶיךָ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְטוֹב לָךְ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

This is the way of the Torah: Bread with salt will you eat, water in a small measure will you drink, on the ground will you sleep, a life of pain will you live, and in Torah will you toil. If you do this, “You are fortunate, and there is good for you” - you are fortunate in this world and there is good for you in the World to Come.

  • But how about your wife and children, I think they require more,that Mishna is referring to am individual who wants to acquire Torah,but if one is married with kids they have an obligation to support their family in a normal fashion – sam Jan 28 at 17:04
  • @sam The average person requires more, too. We’re talking about ideals here. If the family agreed, surely they would abide by this Braisa. If the family disagreed, then perhaps the one in the family who’s holding by this would still eat salty bread and drink minimal water, while the rest of the family gets more pleasure. – DonielF Jan 28 at 17:07

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