Boonyas was by far the wealthier of the two--"this man's father owns a thousand ships at sea and . . . a thousand cities on land"--Rebbi responded that, in that case, Boonyas should dress the part: "Do not send him before me wearing these clothes." A rich person, the rabbis believed, should conduct himself accordingly, since wealth deserved respect: "Akiva would show respect to wealthy people." But riches only mattered, the Gemara goes on to explain, because they enabled the rich to help care for the poor: "When there are kindness and ample provisions [for the poor], this preserves the world." Clearly, the Jewish admiration for philanthropy goes back a long way.
from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: The Talmud Paints a Vivid Picture of Jewish Family Life in This Week's Daf Yomi