Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone
Contact Us
Visit us on Facebook

Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity

Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity

Mishneh Torah, Laws of Charity, 10:7–14

E-mail

There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

[1] The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .

[2] A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple [in Jerusalem]. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator, like Rabbi Chananyah ben Teradyon.

[3] A lesser level of charity than this is when one knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to walk about in secret and put coins in the doors of the poor. It is worthy and truly good to do this, if those who are responsible for distributing charity are not trustworthy.

[4] A lesser level of charity than this is when one does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to tie coins into their robes and throw them behind their backs, and the poor would come up and pick the coins out of their robes, so that they would not be ashamed.

[5] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.

[6] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person after being asked.

[7] A lesser level than this is when one gives inadequately, but gives gladly and with a smile.

[8] A lesser level than this is when one gives unwillingly.

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
E-mail
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (16)
March 13, 2014
Yes, Socialism.
An understanding of socialism as 'forcible taking' is incorrect and is actually informed only by those who seek to do nothing but smear its name. Accepting such a definition would be like going to an antisemite for an explanation of Judaism.

Socialism is a social order under which working people have collective control over both the process and products of their labor. Far from being 'forcible taking', socialism abolishes the forcible taking of the workers' surplus value (the difference between what the worker is paid and what the product of their labor is actually worth on the market) by the employer who owns the tools that the worker needs to work.

To give examples of societies that have called themselves 'socialist' but did not have such an order in an attempt to discredit socialism would be like using the horrors of The Democratic People's Republic of Korea to discredit democracy. It is simply arguing in bad faith.
Madman Defarge
Brooklyn
June 12, 2013
Socialism?
Socialism does not involve giving, grudgingly or otherwise, but forcible taking.
Bruce
Virginia Beach
June 12, 2013
Re: Socailism.
No not interpreted.
But pure and successful socialism, like the kibbutz of 50 years ago, would be one of the possible expressions of socialism.
Netta Goldman
Nahariya Israel
June 11, 2013
Socialism?
Could one interpret level 8 as socialism?
Mark Richman
Parkland, FL
March 15, 2013
Source?
I think all these are in the Talmud. Specific references should be given.
Maurice M Mizrahi
BURKE
January 7, 2013
What if I, as a Jew, support a Christian
I think the greatest charity is clear about who the recipient must be.
Srikanth
Dairyland
February 3, 2012
Question
What if I, as a Jew, support a Christian by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .is that good?
Minorkle
New York, NY
September 28, 2011
which level?
Having money forcibly taken to give to another would be at what level?
Bruce
Virginia Beach, VIRGINIA
August 29, 2011
Levels: for Netta Goldman
Thanks for your reply.
I would like to hear from Israelis living in the U.S. Do they expect to return to Israel ?
Sorry, I am not an engineer.
Jack
Midland Park
August 27, 2011
Levels: from Israel
Well it's easier to get ahead in America. But anyone, as the Rambam pointed out, would prefer to make an honest living rather than getting charity. He would not condone moving to the States. We have areas of drought with more than 300 days of sunlight a year. Interested in producing electricity for export? You'd have a job and provide others with work too. That's Rambam's top level, and it's Herzl's too.
Netta Goldman
Nahariya, Israel
Show all comments
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG