"For I am attached to him because he commands his children and his household after him: 'Keep the way of G‑d, making charity and justice'…." (Gen. 18:19)

Since it is written, "Keep the way of G‑d", why does it then state "…making charity and justice"?

Aren't charity and justice included in "the way of G‑d"?

However, [this is to inform us that] one who guards the way of Torah "makes" charity and justice.

There is an ongoing process of creation which man had the duty and privilege of fulfilling….

The expression used here for doing charitable acts is "le'asot tzedaka umishpat". The word "le'asot" also had the connotation of "making" or "creating" as in the verse, "G‑d blessed the seventh day….because on it He abstained from all His work which G‑d created, [for man] to make. [in Hebrew, 'le'asot']" (Gen. 2:3) This implies that there is an ongoing process of creation which man had the duty and privilege of fulfilling, through his observance of the Torah and the commandments.

What do charity and justice signify? The Holy One, blessed be He!

By performing acts of charity and justice a person fashions the Holy Name, as will be explained below.

Rabbi Shimon wept: "Woe to those who do not have knowledge, and who do not gaze upon the glory of their Master. Who makes the Holy Name every day? One who gives charity to the poor! Come and see: A poor person is bound to the attribute of din [strict justice].

All the food which he eats is severely restricted. This is the level called "Tzedek".

"Tzedek", literally "righteousness", here indicates strict justice which gives only to those who have earned it. Now "tzedek" is also the root of the word "tzedaka", but with an additional hei at the end of the word. With the addition of the hei the word now indicates charity, even to the undeserving. Thus, when one gives charity to a poor person, he causes the Holy Name to become complete.

For tzedaka is the Tree of Life [the sefira of tiferet] which pours forth to tzedek [malchut]. And when this happens, they unite and the Holy Name is completed.

The explanation is as follows: On the verses, "David made a name…And David performed justice and tzedaka with all his people", (Samuel II 8:13,15) the Zohar here comments: By doing justice and charity "David made a name" - the Tetragrammaton, Havayah. Through charity and justice, he aroused the quality of chesed above to elicit an infinite light from the level of chochma, illustrated by the letter yud, the first letter of the Tetragrammaton, to the letter hei, the second letter of the Tetragrammaton. This diffuses through the various spiritual worlds (signified by the letter vav of the Name) to the world below (signified by the final letter hei), thus completing the Divine Name. This is also the explanation of our verse: Abraham commanded his children to perform acts of justice and charity in this world, and this elicits the light of G‑d from above to suffuse This World, which is the meaning of the first part of our verse, "I am attached to him".

[Zohar III, 113a-b; Translation and commentary by Moshe Miller. First published by Fiftieth Gate Publications and Seminars.]