Now, the above follows the exact requirements of the law.

וְהִנֵּה, זֶהוּ עַל פִּי שׁוּרַת הַדִּין גָּמוּר.

In fact, however, even in a case where such reasoning does not so fully apply,

אֲבָל בֶּאֱמֶת, גַּם אִם הוּא עִנְיָן דְּלֹא שַׁיָּיךְ כָּל כָּךְ הַאי טַעֲמָא

I.e., even when (a) one is called upon to share not luxuries but one’s own slice of bread, or even when (b) the poor are not crying out for food and clothing but for other essentials,

it is not proper that any man insist on the letter of the law;

רָאוּי לְכָל אָדָם שֶׁלֹּא לְדַקְדֵּק לְהַעֲמִיד עַל הַדִּין,

rather, he should impose austerity on his own life and go far beyond the [demands of the] letter of the law.

רַק לִדְחוֹק חַיָּיו וְלִיכָּנֵס לִפְנַי וְלִפְנִים מִשּׁוּרַת הַדִּין,

Moreover, one should be concerned,10 for his own sake, with the teaching of our Sages,11 of blessed memory, that—even in a situation where “that which is yours takes precedence over that which belongs to others”—he who is exacting in this matter, and does not go beyond the letter of the law, “will eventually be brought to this matter”: he himself will ultimately need charity, heaven forfend.

וְלִדְאוֹג לְעַצְמוֹ מִמַּאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁכָּל הַמְדַקְדֵּק בְּכָךְ – סוֹף בָּא לִידֵי כָךְ, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

And after all, all of us need the mercies of heaven at all times,12

וְגַם, כִּי כּוּלָּנוּ צְרִיכִים לְרַחֲמֵי שָׁמַיִם בְּכָל עֵת,

[which are elicited] only through an arousal from below, at all times and at every moment,

בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא דַּוְקָא בְּכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה,

by arousing our compassion for those who are in need of compassion.

לְעוֹרֵר רַחֲמֵינוּ עַל הַצְּרִיכִים לְרַחֲמִים,

But whoever hardens his heart and suppresses his compassion, for whatever reason, causes the same above—the suppression of [Divine compassion], heaven forfend.

וְכָל הַמְאַמֵּץ לְבָבוֹ וְכוֹבֵשׁ רַחֲמָיו, יִהְיֶה מֵאֵיזֶה טַעַם שֶׁיִּהְיֶה – גּוֹרֵם כָּךְ לְמַעְלָה, לִכְבּוֹשׁ וְכוּ' חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

All this, however, affects only the future. [The Rebbe, however, notes:] “And the present as well, causing one to give until the recipient is equal ‘with you.” [Cf. footnote 7, above.] There is, however, an aspect of tzedakah that also affects the past, [and the Rebbe adds:] “causing one to give to an even greater degree than what he keeps for himself, since this is” to secure the rectification and atonement of his past sins.

After all, furthermore, “There is not a righteous person upon earth who does good”13—always—“and does not sin,”

וּמַה גַּם, "כִּי אָדָם אֵין צַדִּיק בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה טּוֹב – תָּמִיד – וְלֹא יֶחֱטָא",

and tzedakah atones14 and protects against misfortune and the like.15

וְהַצְּדָקָה מְכַפֶּרֶת וּמְגִינָּה מִן הַפּוּרְעָנוּת וְכוּ',

[Charity] is thus an actual cure for body and soul,16

וְלָזֹאת הִיא רְפוּאַת הַגּוּף וְנֶפֶשׁ מַמָּשׁ,

with respect to which [it is written],“Skin for skin—a limb for a limb, and all that a man has he will give for his soul,”17 i.e., to save his life.

אֲשֶׁר "עוֹר בְּעַד עוֹר וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לָאִישׁ יִתֵּן בְּעַד נַפְשׁוֹ".

Setting a limit to the amount one distributes for charity is thus just as unthinkable as limiting the sum one would spend in order to be cured and to stay alive.

How much more does this apply when we are “believers, the descendants of believers,”18 in the fact that charity is nothing other than a loan to the Holy One, blessed be He,19

בְּשֶׁגַּם, אָנוּ מַאֲמִינִים בְּנֵי מַאֲמִינִים, כִּי הַצְּדָקָה, אֵינָהּ רַק הַלְוָאָה לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

as it is written, “He who is gracious unto the poor, lends unto G-d, and He will repay him his good deed”20—twofold, in this world.

כְּדִכְתִיב: "מַלְוֵה ה' חוֹנֵן דָל, וּגְמוּלוֹ יְשַׁלֶּם לוֹ" בְּכִפְלַיִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה,

For the performance of none of the commandments is rewarded in this world—except for charity21 because it is beneficial to creatures,22 as is written at the end of the first chapter of Kiddushin.23

דִּשְׂכַר כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת לֵיכָּא בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, לְבַד מִצְּדָקָה, לְפִי שֶׁהוּא טוֹב לַבְּרִיּוֹת, כִּדְאִיתָא בְּקִדּוּשִׁין סוֹף פֶּרֶק קַמָּא.

Also, one should be concerned about punishment,24 heaven forfend, when one’s companions associate for the sake of a mitzvah and he does not join them,25

וְגַם יֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ לְעוֹנֶשׁ, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, כְּשֶׁחֲבֵרָיו נִמְנִים לִדְבַר מִצְוָה וְהוּא לֹא נִמְנֶה עִמָּהֶם,

This would be the case if one were to absent oneself when the other members of one’s community were joining forces for the sake of the charitable cause under discussion, viz., the Kollel Chabad Fund.

as is known from the words of our Sages,26 of blessed memory, who teach that standing aside in such circumstances is an instance of “an absence for which one cannot [again] be counted.”27

כַּנּוֹדָע מִמַּאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה.

May life be pleasant for those who give heed, and may blessings of all kinds of goodness rest upon them.28

וְלַשּׁוֹמְעִים יוּנְעַם, וְתָבוֹא עֲלֵיהֶם בִּרְכַּת טוֹב, בְּכָל מִילֵּי דְמֵיטַב,

“Act benevolently, O G-d, toward the good and the upright,”29

הֵטִיבָה ה' לַטּוֹבִים וִישָׁרִים,

as is their wish and as is the wish of [the writer], who seeks their welfare with all his heart and soul.

כְּנַפְשָׁם וְנֶפֶשׁ הַדּוֹרֵשׁ שְׁלוֹמָם מִכָּל לֵב וָנֶפֶשׁ: