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A Woman’s Charity—How to Give Tzedakah

A Woman’s Charity—How to Give Tzedakah

The Wife of Abba Chilkiyah


Here’s a story of a woman whose prayers were miraculously answered:

An early tanna, Abba Chilkiyah, lived during the time of the Second Temple. Abba Chilkiyah, a grandson of Choni Hame’agel (“Choni the Circle-Maker”), was respected as a miracle worker by the sages of his generation. One time, during a drought, the Jews sent a delegation to ask Abba Chilkiyah to pray for rain. Abba Chilkiyah and his wife both climbed to the roof of their house to pray. Each stood at an opposite corner of the roof, and as they prayed, clouds began to form at the side of the sky closer to his wife.

Abba Chilkiyah was asked why his wife’s prayers were more readily answered, as indicated by the clouds forming nearer to her. He explained that although both he and his wife gave tzedakah (charity) to the poor, she always gave ready-made food, while he had only money to give. Her prayers were therefore more productive, because her kindness to the needy was more available and beneficial. (Talmud, Taanit 23b)

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