Jewish Charity The Obligation to Give
Charity; the voluntary giving of aid. So says secular understanding. In Hebrew, however, the word used, Tzedakah, connotes righteousness. According to Jewish thought, giving charity is a form of social justice, being that the imbalance between the fortunate and not so is somewhat righted by the giving of one to another. The rich recognize the pain of the poor and try to ease it somewhat with their generosity.
Charity is an obligation for all of humanity to show compassion and provide relief in any way one can. Jewish charity is about an ethical obligation to bettering the world and making it a better place.
While recipients benefit from the obligation to give, being provided relief in the form of funds or assistance, donors are gaining, too. Those who take their resources and provide for others gain compassion and gain humanity. Furthermore, they gain the knowledge and feeling of being a part of the building of this universe.
Different Ways to Give Charity
Jewish charity is the donation of one’s strengths to those in need. Forms of charity
- Giving money.
- Volunteering at institutions such as nursing homes, schools or other
- Giving time, a listening ear, or anything an individual may need to succeed. One can fulfill their charity obligation by giving to Lev Lalev Girls Orphanage Home.
Located in Netanya, an Israeli coastal town, Lev Lalev is a shelter for 120 girls, serving as their home and their family.
About Lev LaLev – Jewish Orphanage
Lev Lalev is not just an orphanage that delivers the basic needs of our orphaned girls, such as shelter, food, and education. We are a multifaceted organization that provides for all needs of growing girls and their entrance into society. We give our girls hope and we give them dreams. They have a warm home setting and they have a family; thus, their growing up is alike to all children. We provide for the emotional
and social necessities of maturing girls with dedicated counselors and therapists, there for hours of listening, compassion, and therapy.
Lev Lalev is about our girls and their success. Indeed, we ensure each girl has social skills training and career counseling. They go on trips, they have extracurricular activities and we even do all wedding preparation, to ready each girl for a full, beautiful life ahead.
The Importance of Giving Charity
As one of the 613 commandments, charity ranks at the top of the list of most important obligations. The Talmud states: “Charity is equal in importance to all other commandments combined.” It is not only about donating money, but it is about the giving of the tithe with joy and with happiness.
Charity should be given with the hand, but above all, with the heart.
Jewish Charity in Practice
In Jewish practice, individuals give ten to twenty percent of their total income to those less fortunate. Jews routinely give tithe to charity organizations, do-good societies or needy individuals.
Jewish charity is given all year, with times around the holidays of Purim and Pesach being especially favorable, so that all Jews, no matter their fortune, can provide for their families with dignity for the holidays. Auspicious times, too, such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs or celebrations of birth are times to give. The merit of giving will stand by you and your family in the happy times and bring only happiness for the future.
Others give charity in the form of gratitude to G-d; for miracles or for blessings like new homes or good jobs.
Jewish Charity in Rabbinic Literature
The Talmud tells of Rabbi Yanai, who once saw a man give money to a needy individual in public. He stated, “It would have been rather had you not to have given him anything and thereby not causing him embarrassment.”
Henceforth, there are multiple ways of dispensing charity, with some being preferred due to the dynamics of the giver and receiver.
The Eight Levels of Jewish Charity
The Rambam categorizes jewish charity into eight levels:
- Supporting the needy by allowing them to end their dependence on charity. It is about teaching the individual a trade or skill so they can earn their share and thereby granting them independence of reliance on others. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
- Giving charity so that the giver is not aware of the identity of the recipient.
This concept, Matan B’seser, is a hidden gift; our sages would routinely dispense coins at the doors of the poor without knowing their identity.
- Supporting one so that the recipient is unaware of the giver’s identity.
- Giving to an unknown individual, with them being aware of who the benefactor is.
- Donating to the poor directly and not forcing them to approach and beg.
- Giving to the poor who have approached and begged
- Being charitable, graciously, but inadequately
- Giving unwillingly
Supporting Lev Lalev – Levels of Charity
Being a supporter of Lev Lalev allows the donor to benefit of giving charity in its
- As an organization, Lev Lalev assists the girls and educates them to be functional members of society. Lev Lalev provides education through school, college and sets up the girls for marriage and life.
- Benefactors are unaware of the individual identities of our girls. Donors never meet the orphans, and yet give generously.
- Our girls are unaware of who the donors are and never get to see them.
- & 5. Our girls do not fundraise; they focus on their education and healing.
Therefore, donations are given directly to the needy without them having to approach.
Give To Lev LaLev and Receive a Tax Deduction
Lev Lalev Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, registered
under EIN # 20-5395832. Donations to Lev Lalev Fund are tax deductible
in the USA.
Please be a part of our family.