Tzedakah

From Academic Kids

Tzedakah (צדקה) in Judaism, is the Hebrew term most commonly translated as "charity", though it is based on a root meaning "justice" (צדק).

According to Maimonides, there are eight levels of tzedakah in Jewish tradition, ranging from publicly giving funds, so that the donor and recipient both know who each other is, to providing the means by which a needy person can become self-sustaining.

Maimonides defined the following eight levels of charity:

  1. Giving a poor person work (or loaning him money to start a business) so he will not have to depend on charity. This is because the person is now free from having to rely on charity. The giver has not just helped the recipient for the short while, but instead for the rest of their life. There are sublevels to this:
  • Giving a poor person work.
  • Making a partnership with them (this is lower than work, as the recipient might feel he doesn't put enough into the partnership).
  • Giving a loan.
  • Giving a gift.
  1. Giving charity anonymously to an unknown recipient.
  2. Giving it anonymously to a known recipient.
  3. Giving it to an unknown recipient.
  4. Giving it before being asked.
  5. Giving adequately after being asked.
  6. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  7. Giving unwillingly.

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