Tzedakah

June 21, 2006

[f. pl “Tzidkot”]; charity; helping one who is less fortunate than oneself; from the root “Tzedek,” meaning “Justice” or “Righteousness.” The concept of “Justice” applies because all wealth is G-d’s and it is He Who allocates it, not necessarily on the basis of any rationale known to us. Therefore, the fact that one has more than the other fellow says not much about who deserved it more. In any case, it is a higher form of “Tzedakah” to give it anonymously than if the recipient knows the identity of the giver. And it is a still higher level, according to the Talmud and quoted by the RAMBAM, when one helps the other person help himself, as is the case when he helps him find a job.

On Rosh HaShanah we say “U’Teshuvah, U’Tefila U’Tzedakah maavirin et roa ha-gezera,” And Repentance and Prayer and Charity remove the harsh decree.”