Most of us are uncomfortable being takers and prefer earning our own keep. On the surface, the mitzvah of tzedakah appears simple and straightforward: Don’t let yourself be the Pharaohs of this age. The Hebrew has its root in another word, tzedek/justice. Many reasons have been suggested by great Torah scholars throughout the generations as to why no blessing is recited before the mitzvah of giving tzedakah to a poor person. The news outlet Axios has faced some criticism for referring to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Leila Khaled as a “Palestinian activist” in a recent article. And may the zechut (merit) of fulfilling this mitzvah help bring the entire Jewish people closer to the presence of the Almighty in our lives. Jews of Color are egregiously underrepresented as constituents and as leaders in mainstream Jewish organizations. (3) The Avudraham writes that the Sages did not ordain a blessing before the performance of a mitzvah which involves another person�s pain. All that it takes for goodness to be vanquished is for us to ignore the suffering and desperation of our fellow human beings. Unfortunately, the Jewish people have had a long history of cheaters living among us who masquerade as poor people but in reality are quite wealthy. The latter is typically understood as a spontaneous act of goodwill and a marker of generosity; tzedakah is an ethical obligation. (1) The great medieval commentator Rashb”a (1235–1310) in his Responsa (1:18) offers the following rule: Any mitzvah which is not entirely in the hands of the one performing it, as it requires the participation of another person for its fulfillment, e.g. Through the work that we do now and throughout the year, we will persuade this hard and callous world that there is a God who rules, that this God insists on justice and love, and that the sovereignty of God is best demonstrated when human beings help each other. The slaves in Egypt, the slaves in our time, are people who don’t have the capacity to reach out and give. God expels Adam and Eve from the Garden, but the next thing God does is sew clothing for them. One should give no less than two poor people one gift each of money or types of cooked dishes or types of food, as it says (Esther 9:22) "gifts to the poor": two gifts to poor people. Guidelines for Giving . Because we are commanded to in the Torah and because it is the right thing to do. Give tzedakah to the needy, Torah schools, Jewish institutions, and humanitarian causes. As Bar/Bat Mitzvah signals the transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood, we encourage you to mark this milestone by the performance of the mitzvah of Tzedakah. The Meaning of the Word "Tzedakah" "Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes. Jewish tradition teaches that giving tzedakah is a religious imperative, even for those who have little to give. We are reflections of that divine image, which means that when we rise up in our freedom and we offer gifts of love, caring and support, then we are most God-like. It is an expression of the divine image in each of us. by R. Gil Student I. Tzedakah [ts(e)daˈka] (Hebrew: צדקה ) is a Hebrew word meaning "righteousness", but commonly used to signify charity. He can’t rely on his own resources, so God does it for him. 100. On the surface, the mitzvah of tzedakah appears simple and straightforward: Don’t let yourself be the Pharaohs of this age. It is your duty to do something about it. When the Torah says, “Don’t harden your heart to those who are needy in your midst,” the Torah is quoting itself. Last year, at the urging of Mark Silberman, a longtime friend, Jewish Future Pledge Board Chair and former Board... Human nature is to desire to be self-sufficient. We thus don�t recite a blessing on the act of giving tzedakah since G-d is really doing all the work, not us. (Bava Basra 9a) One should give with a smile… and also offer kind words. On the surface, the mitzvah of tzedakah, the commandment to give, is a very simple one. That first act of caring is consistent with God’s last act in the Torah. 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