Section: Halacha Category: Tzedoka
|Rambam's 8 Levels Of Tzedoka|
|The Rambam writes (Matanos Aniyim
10:1) that we are obligated to be careful regarding the mitzva of
tzedoka more than all the Mitzvos Aseh because giving tzedoka is a sign
that you are from the righteous children of Avrohom Avinu. Among other
things he also adds that Bnei Yisroel will not be redeemed only in the
zechus of tzedoka.|
To put you at ease when doing the difficult
task of parting with your precious money he says that a person never
became poor from giving tzedoka and was never harmed by it in any way.
Furthermore if you have Rachamanus on the need Hashem will have mercy
on you. We all know going through our often times difficult lives, how
much we can all use this mercy.
The Rambam says that not all
tzedoka is created equal. There is a hierarchy of 8 clearly defined
levels of tzedoka. The underlying principle of this hierarchy is to
save the person who sadly needs to rely on handouts from feeling
shame. The less shame he feels, the greater your reward.
So there is giving tzedoka and giving tzedoka. Since the hardest part
is parting with our money, once we have already decided to do that, we
may as well get, literally speaking, the most "bang for our buck".
1. "V'Hechezkata Bo"
- Hold him up and strengthen him, before he falls. A well timed loan
can save a persons business and spare him from becoming poor.
Similarly, funding his business or entering a partnership with him so
that he doesn't need to take you money to eat but rather to generate
his own income.
2. Double Anonymity - If he does not know who gave him the handout and you do not know who you gave it to, there will never be a moment of uncomfort
when the two of you meet. He pride while hurt by taking, will be
consoled by knowing that the neighbors are looking at him. This can be
accomplished by giving to a Tzedoka fund.
3. Anonymously Received -
The next lower level is if you know the identity of the recipient but
at least he does not know the identity of the donor. This way he will
not feel obliged and humiliated in your presence.
4. Blind Giving
- Even lower than the previous level but still helpful is if the
recipient knows who gave it but the donor does not know the recipient.
5. Extend Your Hand -
If the recipient must confront the donor for money, you can still earn
a level of merit by offering it before he actually has to ask. The
opening line is so difficult, painful, and rehearsed so many times, if
you can help the recipient use it, he will breathe a great sigh of
6. Generosity - If he already asked you should give him a worthy amount. Don't disappoint him. That also counts for something.
- If you cannot give the amount he needs and expects, at least do it
with sympathy. Feel his pain and make him feel as comfortable a
possible given the trying circumstances.
8. Just Give It! -
If did not manage to achieve one of the higher levels of tzedoka, you
gave too little without much sympathy, after having been begged, don't
despair, you still have mitzva of tzedoka.
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