The Rebbe has consistently stressed the importance of giving tzedakah. Here are just a few examples taken from some of the Rebbe’s letters to me.

On the 12th of Sivan 5717 (June 11, 1957):

I received your letter of May 30th, and I was pleased to read in it that you so quickly saw the fulfillment of G‑d’s promise, “Test me now herewith, saith our G‑d... if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing more than enough.” (Malachi 3:10). Thus, your pledge of £500 for Kfar Chabad, has been returned to you manyfold. It is a pity that you did not pledge more, so that the benefit would have been so much greater. I trust, however, that this will be a lesson for the future, to remember how trust in G‑d is well rewarded.

...Having recently celebrated the festival of Shavuos, the time of our receiving the Torah, it is well to recall that that great event is likened to a marriage, in which G‑d takes the part of the groom, and Israel of the bride, and the wedding ring which the bridegroom gives to the bride, represents the Divine Blessings which G‑d gives to Israel in all their material needs. In other words, Jews should always remember that they are betrothed to G‑d, and owe Him individual loyalty and devotion, in return for which G‑d takes care of all their needs, materially and spiritually.

In the days of Chanukah, 5721 (1960):

...I was gratified to read in your letter that you have again had occasion to see the benevolent Providence in being able to sell quantities of your stock. May G‑d continue to show you His benevolence in the future, and in a greater measure.

However, I am somewhat concerned that while you mention about things done from On High, relating to the sales, you do not mention at all about the things that have to be done here below (and which are entirely in your hands because “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven”). I refer to your tzedakah contributions from your business profits. One should remember that according to our holy books one should not be tardy in remitting that which belongs to tzedakah. On the contrary, it is even advisable to remit in advance of future profits, since the Almighty’s credit is always good.

And on the 3rd of Nissan 5723 (March 28, 1963), in a long, three-page letter, the Rebbe detailed various points about tzedakah, including the following paragraphs: regard to your tzedakah contributions relative to your financial position, etc.

Generally speaking, one should give tzedakah of his own money. However, I do not quite agree with your evaluation of your business results, and your position in general calls for a special approach. I will outline my views:

...2) What is perhaps even more important is to remember that your business turnover has grown quite remarkably since we began to discuss your tzedakah contributions. I believe I mentioned to you that sometimes the order is “aser” [tithe] first, and then comes the “tisasser,” [you will become wealthy] and sometimes it is reversed, namely, G‑d extends His “credit” first, increasing the turnover of business and a proportionate increase in profits, expecting confidently that the “asher” will follow in a commensurate measure. In your case the latter order was followed. Hence, the increase of your tzedakah contributions should be at least proportionate to the increase in the volume of business, especially, as in your case, bli ayin-hora, the volume increase has been l’maalo miderech hateva [higher than nature].

...4) A further essential point is this, namely, inasmuch as the business and profits have, thank G‑d, increased in an unusual way, I do not think it is justifiable to approach the question of tzedakah with precise calculations, etc.

5) It is self-understood that a person residing in a community is obliged to participate in the community charities, especially one on whom Divine Providence has bestowed a position of prominence and influence, which must be reflected in every aspect, including philanthropy. Needless to say, when I speak of an increase in tzedakah, I do not mean at the expense of the tzedakah which has been practiced before, but an increase in tzedakah which is indicated by the growth of the business, as mentioned above.

All that has been said above is relative to financial profits. Important as they are, they are by far exceeded by gains which cannot be measured in terms of money. And thank G‑d, you have been blessed with such a fine shidduch for your bas yechida [only daughter], and quite unexpectedly, and you have been blessed also with true Yiddish nachas from your ben yochid [only son] (G‑d bless them both), in a way which you also recognize was quite unexpected. One of the ways for you and Mrs. Jaffe as the blessed parents to say to G‑d “Thank you” is by a greater devotion to all matters of Torah and mitzvos in general, and tzedakah in particular, since tzedakah is “weighed against all the mitzvos...”

[Ed. note: During the years 5725-5727 [1965-1967], Zalmon Jaffe and his wife traveled to New York to the Rebbe on at least five occasions. Additionally, they received about thirty personal letters from the Rebbe during that time. Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate the dairies from those years yet. If and when they are found, they will be included in future volumes.]