However, it is more than just giving money. Hanukkah. In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due. The greatest of Jewish leaders and prophets. The avodah of … The High Holy Days end with this “rejoicing of the Torah,” traditionally observed with all-night Torah readings. Mishpat tzedek means laws that are just or courts that are just, as opposed to law that favors one group or social class. (If making a donation would impair the impecunious Jew’s ability to sustain himself, he is absolved from giving. Tzedakah: Charity. There are three types of tzedakah where the phrase “kodemes lakol” (it precedes everything else) is employed. For example, one may give $18 to a Torah school or $360 to a local Jewish organization. This is called Ma'aser, literally "one tenth" (hence the English word "tithe"). Helping the needy is not simply a matter of generosity. The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. Danny Siegel is a well-known author, lecturer, and poet who has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on Tzedakah and … Tzedakah in the Bible The Bible backed up its exhortations to assist the poor with laws and practices that gave poor people a claim to a share of society's wealth. Tzedakah (צְדָקָה)—often translated as charity—is a mainstay of Jewish life. By Rabbi Howard Alpert Parshat Re’eh For many Jews, tzedakah is the quintessential Jewish act. Tzedakah is also seen as one of the three acts that gain forgiveness from sins. This is called Ma'aser, literally "one tenth" (hence the English word "tithe"). The farmer was not even allowed to help o… Since Purim is a day of new acceptance of the Torah, then Matanos LaEvyonim is intrinsic to this very joyous holiday. The Torah requires farmers to leave the corners (pe’ah) of their fields unharvested, left to be picked by “the poor and the stranger.” Similarly, any grain that falls to the ground as it is picked (leket) was also to be left; so too any grapes that would fall from or be left on the vine (olalot). They are enjoined not to become dependent on others. The Torah and Talmud provide Jews with guidelines on the how, what and when of giving to the poor. Whether it is accomplished by simply putting a coin in a pushke (a charity box) or holding a door for someone who cannot open it for herself, or with a complex … In ancient times, the Hebrew Torah was intended for a primarily agricultural economy and addressed the tzedakah in agrarian terms. Most of these tithes went to support the priests and Levites, who owned no land of their own. In the Torah we are strongly enjoined, “Tzedek, tsedek tirdof/Justice, justice thou shalt pursue.” Rabbinical commentators have said that the repetition of the word justice is designed to underline the importance of the command. The root tz-d-k in the Hebrew Bible generally refers to the quality of justice. Even so, we are enjoined explicitly to give tzedakah, particularly just before the Sabbath and festivals. The very phrase, “stealing from the poor,” is instructive. Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses. A work printed a few years ago in Yerushalayim by Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Zemmel, entitled “Ahavas Tzedakah,” provides us with a number of answers. The Talmudic sages urged even the scholar to take on menial labor rather than become a burden to the community, and many of them were laborers themselves. Rabbi Avraham Wolfson, who passed away last week, was the eldest son of the illustrious philanthropist Zev Wolfson, founder of The Wolfson Foundation. Of course the greatest act of tzedakah was demonstrated by the gracious gift of Yeshua as our sacrifice for sin. If a farmer or his workers missed a section of the field during harvesting, they could not go back and pick it (the rabbis later termed this obligation shikh’chah, “forgetting”). A family member who is in difficult financial straits takes precedence over non-family. Tzedakah is about bringing justice to the world. Among the Torah’s most radical innovations is the shemitah, the cancellation of all debts every seven years. Running through many aspects of these laws is a fundamental egalitarianism. There was the seventh year, when debts were cancelled. Question: Years ago, I used to collect money for various tzedakah causes. At one point I borrowed some money from the funds collected (I know I probably shouldn’t have) with the intent to pay it back quickly. Indeed, the Torah’s framework of assistance for the poor is built almost entirely on a series of imitations of God, in accord with the command “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Life on the land God has given is a covenantal partnership between Israel and God. When his son Alexander Margolis heard that the Sokolniki Chabad House is in need of a new Torah he stepped up to donate one.It was welcomed at a joyous ceremony. Share. After the Temple was destroyed, the annual tithe levied upon each Jew for support … This shabbaton (sabbatical year) not only would allow the earth to regenerate itself, but would, to a degree, put the entire community on an equal footing. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. The laws reflect a tension between dealing with immediate need—“for the poor shall never cease from the land”—and the ideal of “there shall no needy among you.” Both statements, in fact, appear in the same chapter, Deuteronomy 15. One cannot decide for oneself to what degree the increase in Torah and tzedakah will be practical and attainable. The Hebrew has its root in another word, tzedek/justice.In the Torah we are strongly enjoined, “Tzedek, tsedek tirdof/Justice, justice thou shalt pursue.”Rabbinical commentators have said that the repetition of the word justice is designed to underline the importance of the command. Rabbi Howard Alpert works with Israel Elwyn, an organization that provides programs promoting dignity, independence and quality of life for more than 4,000 Israelis with disabilities. In Jewish thought, justice isn't merely about how things work, but how they ought to be. Torah (/ ˈ t ɔːr ə, ˈ t oʊ r ə /; Hebrew: תּוֹרָה ‎, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. The word Tzedakah is based on the Hebrew word Tzedek which means righteousness or justice. This week the Torah portion is Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) and the haftarah is Isaiah 61:10-63:9). The focal provision of the law is the obligation of the owner to release the slave at the end of six years. All Rights Reserved. Tzedakah, conceived as justice, means that the needs of the recipient lie at the heart of our concern. The Torah claims “there will never cease to be needy ones in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11) (United Jewish Communities 2004). The High Holy Days end with this “ rejoicing of the 613 mitzvahs carry with pride world was built kindness... Haftarah is Isaiah 61:10-63:9 ) a matter of generosity to determine where to give first different periods Jewish! Roscha Shul in Moscow wrote Moses Maimonides ( the same form, tzedek, meaning justice they and... 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