9. Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity Sunday, July 7, 2013 The Mitzvah of Tzedakah by Rabbi Yair Hoffman 5tjt [...]THE THOUGHT PROCESS ONE SHOULD HAVE. This concept of "charity" differs from the modern Western understanding of "charity." On the surface, the Torah is very simple. COMMUNAL OBLIGATION The question still arises: how can this payment formulation process be reconciled with … It was good charity — Maimonides famously declared lending to the poor as the highest level of tzedakah — and it was a good investment into the Jewish community. (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. Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for "righteousness", but it has come to signify philanthropy beyond basic charity. The Midrash notices that there is a contradiction between two biblical verses. When the Torah says, “Don’t harden your heart to those who are needy in your midst,” the Torah is quoting itself. "Tzedakah and acts of kindness are the equivalent of all the mitzvot of the Torah" – Jerusalem Talmud, Pe'ah 1:1. Adam and Eve had disobeyed the Lord’s command. True, Torah is the greatest Mitzvah and as long as we strive … Persuading others to give as well is an even greater mitzvah (Hilchos Matnas Aniyim 10:13). ... one-on-one workshops for children approaching their Bnai Mitzvah and initiating college interns into the field of non-profit management, Areyvut motivates Jewish students to become responsible members of society. We do it because, in our core, that is who we are and who we are summoned to be. It isn’t... On the fifth night of Hanukkah, Mindy Kaling gave to us… a fully lit and fully tone-deaf menorah. In Judaism, showing hospitality (hakhnasat orchim) to guests is considered a mitzvah.When one knows of strangers who are hungry or need a place to relax, it becomes a legal obligation. This Torah expenditure is not motivated by tzedakah but rather the need for the mitzvah object, zeh keli v'anveihu and the halachic requirement to the community. Whoever shows compassion to the poor – Hashem shows compassion to him. Wooden Charity box Charity mitzvah is one of the most important mitzvot in the Torah, between man and place and between man and his friend, and on which the general salvation depends as it says "Betzedaka tikonani", and many of the salvation of man comes through the act of Tzedaka and giving to others, as the sages say: "charity will save from death". ... Mishneh Torah, Scroll of Esther and Hanukkah 2:16-17 (16) One is obligated to give to poor people on the day of Purim. Its intention is to show the Jewish people’s determination to improve the world. 200. Paying for a Mitzvah We spend money on mitzvos. However, when performing a mitzvah that is also performed by non-Jews, as in the case of tzedakah, our sanctification as Jews is not readily evident and thus no blessing is recited. We don’t earn God’s bounty; God gives simply for the joy of giving. That gift is itself unearned: God didn’t have to do that. A poor person often feels pained and embarrassed to have to receive tzedakah, and it is improper and inappropriate to recite a blessing at another person's misfortune. A Jewish family in Aubervilliers, France was attacked on December 17 while they were singing Hanukkah songs inside their car. (3) The Avudraham writes that the Sages did not ordain a blessing before the performance of a mitzvah which involves another person�s pain. Only afterwards does the Torah command us to observe shmitat kesafim – a loan which is not paid back – and tzedakah, which one donates with the a … But whether paying yeshivah tuition or buying an esrog, we gladly spend the money G-d gave us to fulfill our religious obligations. We must be especially careful to observe the mitzvah of tzedakah, more so than any other positive mitzvah, for tzedakah is a sign of the righteous [tzadik] lineage of Abraham, our father, as it is said, (Genesis 18:19) For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his posterity [to keep the way of the LORD] by doing what is just [tzedakah]. Mitzvah literally means “commandment.” In fact, Jewish tradition understands exactly 613 mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) to be derived from the Hebrew Bible. 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. 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