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The Torah says that one must give a tenth of their wealth to tzedaka but no more than one fifth. Are there ever circumstances where it is fitting to give even more? Tzedaka as a mode of repentance

Giving Until it Hurts

Giving Until it Hurts

Tzedaka - Lesson 7

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Giving Until it Hurts: Tzedaka - Lesson 7

The Torah says that one must give a tenth of their wealth to tzedaka but no more than one fifth. Are there ever circumstances where it is fitting to give even more? Tzedaka as a mode of repentance
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Charity, Teshuvah, Tithing (Maaser)
Rabbi Lazer Gurkow is spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Tefilah in London, Ontario, and a frequent contributor to The Judaism Website—Chabad.org. He has lectured extensively on a variety of Jewish topics, and his articles have appeared in many print and online publications. For more on Rabbi Gurkow and his writings, visit InnerStream.ca.
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Anonymous December 29, 2011

shunned Hi Elsa, Your note made me sad. I think you should move to a new Shul. One that is friendly and inclusive, and that values all the different ways of contributing.The one I attend is like that. Reply

Lazer Gurkow December 29, 2011

To Elsa from Concord To be Jewish one need not be rich and it is sad that this is how you were made to feel. Of course Judaism encourages gratitude to the donor, but it does not permit us to judge people by their money. A gift of one dollar for the poor can be more pleasing to G-d than a thousand dollars for the rich.
The sad reality of our life is that it takes money to operate a Temple and human nature is such that we flatter those who can help us most. This is not a religious value. It is a human weakness. The committed Jew works to overcome this inclination and not value people by their income and donation.
As to your concern about white cleaning a sin through charity. Charity does not whitewash sin. It only puts the finishing touches of atonement on a person who is genuinely penitent.
I am sorry you had such a terrible experience. Allow me to encourage you to try again. I hope you encounter people who respect you for who you are, rather how much you own. Reply

Prof. Ross Barnard December 27, 2011

good one very informative and helpful thankyou Reply

elsa davidson Concord, California December 25, 2011

GIVE TILL IT HURTS a way of doing pentence huh. wow, that's easy it's possible to be a real jerk, and give a
lot of money to make things right? doens't sound right to me.
do people on a very fixed income count:? i know by personal experience i did not.
seems nobdy Jewish wants to have anything to do with poor people. where is it written
that to be Jewish you have to be rich?
so one can just give money, and spend one
morning a month at a shelter giving breakfast
to homeless people and that's it!
as compared to e.g. catholic chariti

i recently belonged to a temple that literally shunned me. i volunteered, went to torah study. was introduced to study group in when the Chazan was in mid-sentence, as oh, by the way - this is Elsa Davidson she is a new member and went on with his sentence. first time i met the rabbi he spent 10 seconds with me. what is it with the rich strut about the
shul like they "own" it. i guess they do. i can't
strut.
don't get it
i have a lot to offer, but it's not money. Reply

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