Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MONETARY LAWS: The eighth level of Tsedaka

Today is the 21th day of Shebat , 5771

Tsedaka is usually translated as "charity" but in Hebrew, Tsedaka means "justice" or "the practice of social justice". Tsedaka is one of the foundations of Judaism and a Mitzva which should be practiced by all.

When a Jew attends a Minyan every day he has the opportunity to do Tsedaka by giving a small amount of money during vaibarekh David when we mention veAta moshel bakol , " God, You are in control of everything", acknowledging that God is also in control of whatever money I will have at the end of the day. We believe that despite our efforts, God is ultimately in charge of the final balance of our banks accounts. He is in control of all unpredictable variables which can easily increase or decrease our final balance.

A person who does not attend a daily Minyan should still be diligent and put even a small amount of money everyday in a Tsedaka box.

But, is giving a dollar bill or three coins a day the only form of performing the Mitzvah of Tsedaka?

There many ways of doing Tsedaka.

In his Laws of Tsedaka (Matanot Aniyim) Maimonides enumerates eight levels of doing
this Mitzvah.

The first level -the highest- is when one offers someone a job or gives him a loan. By giving a job one is avoiding from the receiver to depend on charity and he is able to earn money by his own . Giving a loan interest-free will help the man in need to stand on his feet and eventually, to be able to repay his debt. These are two examples of doing Tsedaka without causing embarrassment.

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime"

TSEDAKA as Justice, by Aish. Click here to read.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024