Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: TZEDAKA Category:MITZVA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Ben Ish Chai - When Tzedaka Is Equal To All The Other Mitzvos The gemara Bava Basra (9a) says that Tzedaka is equal to all the other Mitzvos combined.  What does this mean, is it greater than learning Torah which the Mishna says is equal to all the mitzvos?  The Ben Yehoada explains that if a poor person is about to die of starvation and you give him a piece of bread and save his life, you have a share in all the mitzvos he does for the rest of his life, since he would have been dead without you.

Nowadays there is no such person however, so how can we be mikayem this great mitzva of tzedaka, asks the Ben Ish Chai?  He answers that if a person needs medicines (or treatment) that he cannot afford and will die without it, and you provide him with the money to cover his medical expenses, then you too have saved a person's life and will have a Cheilek of all his future mitzvos.

As a remez to this gemara the Ben Ish Chai says that the hidden letters of Tzedaka spelled out fully (e.g., Tzadi is Tzadi-Dalet-Yud...) equal the same gematria as the word Mitzvos.  Even today we can give tzedaka that is equal to all the mitzvos!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Tzedaka - From The Poor To The Poorer The Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvos (Aseh 195) says that even a poor person, who himself is a recipient of Tzedaka, is not exempt from the mitzva of tzedaka and must give tzedaka as well.  He adds one interesting caveat and that is that he must give to someone poorer than himself.  The Chinuch in Mitzva 479 uses even stronger language, saying that he is obligated to give tzedaka only if he finds someone poorer than he is.  

If there is a mitzva of tzedaka and a certain person qualifies as a valid recipient why does it make a difference if he has more or less money than the giver?

The Shmuos Gitin (7a) answers that the Rambam (Shoresh 9) categorizes the mitzvos into four groups Dei'os, Pe'ulos, Middos, and Dibbur.  The mitzva of tzedaka, he says, belongs in the group called "Middos" character traits, together with Rachmanus and Chessed.  This group is based on the Mitzva "V'Ahavta L'Rei'acha Kamocha".  If so, says the Shmuos Gitin, the obligation of giving tzedaka is to love your fellow Jew as much as you love yourself but not more than yourself.  It is to create love among Klal Yisroel.  Giving to someone who already has more than you would not cause you to love them, on the contrary it would create friction.  Therefore the mitzva must be done with a person who you can make better off and closer to your level but not above it.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000