What would you do with your money if you had a fortune worth millions of dollars?

Here is what Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder chose to do with his: He decided to give it all away to charity, down to the last penny, or Euro.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," Rabeder, 47, told London's Daily Telegraph.

On the block, or already sold, is his luxury lakeside villa in the Alps, his 42-acre estate in France, his six gliders, and the interior furnishings and accessories business that got him rich in the first place. When every penny of his estimated $4.7 million fortune is gone, he says, he intends to move into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a studio in Innsbruck.

What brought him to his current conclusion? A vacation in Hawaii and gliding trips to South America and Africa left him with feelings of guilt, he said, and the sense that there was a connection between his wealth and the poverty of the people he saw.

Since selling off some of his possessions, with lots more looking for buyers, Rabeder says he feels "free, the opposite of heavy," which was the feeling his wealth gave him.

Would our world be healed if only more people would learn from Rabeder's actions and behave similarly?

Not quite.

Is he a great guy? Definitely! But did he do the right thing? I think not.

To borrow a line from the Kuzari (a medieval book on Jewish philosophy, not a Japanese dish): "The intentions are pure; but the action misguided."

For how will Karl's newfound poverty help the poor? True, his one-off donation will make a difference, but it is precisely that—a one-off.

While he may have successfully rid himself of guilt feelings – after all he is now just as poor as Africa's poor – in the long run, they will continue to go to bed hungry at night.

And while he feels lighter, those suffering in poverty continue to feel just as heavy.

The Talmud tells us: "One should not extravagantly distribute more than one fifth of one's income to charity." I have often struggled to understand (not to follow) the advice of this particular Talmudic statement.

Could it be that the Torah – called Torat Chesed, an "Instruction of Kindness," for introducing kindness to the world, and indeed making the giving of charity compulsory – puts a cap on giving?

But far from a cap, it's more like a tap, channeling good intentions into sustainable worthy actions.

For if everyone were to give everything away there would only be more mouths to feed, not less. Sometimes giving less is (ultimately) giving more.

As such, the way to help the homeless and hungry is not by becoming homeless and hungry oneself, but by feeding and housing those in need like one would oneself.

And instead of becoming poor, moving into a hut, and giving up future possibilities and opportunities to give charity, Karl should grow his business in order to accumulate as much wealth as possible in order to give lots more!

Another point worth mentioning:

"Ver es hut der me'ah, hut der de'ah," says an old Yiddish saying.

In English: Affluence equals influence.

Beyond the money Karl could contribute on his own, as a wealthy man and a symbol of status, he could encourage others to give as well. (The huge effect of celebrity charity on society is well-known—for more on this, see Make Some Noise!)

People are more likely to be swayed by a well-dressed man who lives in a penthouse, than by a pauper living in a decrepit hut in the woods.

It is sometimes easier to die for one's fellow than it is to live life for him.

To sum it up, a powerful urge, however charitable, is like an energetic stallion itching to charge forth unrestrained. But without a rider, its lightening speed can potentially hasten its arrival to the wrong destination.

We need more people like Karl who desire to help the poor, but we must see to it that those altruistic impulses result in the greatest, most wide-reaching and long-lasting effects possible!