Wise Solomon wrote, “When you give to a poor man, you are lending to G‑d.” That’s because G‑d repays all charitable funds—along with handsome dividends—here, in this world. According to the Prophet Malachi, G‑d even challenges us, saying, “Try it and see.”

Doing It Right:

The highest form of tzedakah (charity) is to provide self-sufficiency. Extend a loan to a friend, allowing him to embark on a business project; help an acquaintance find a job or bring her into your family business.

No one should have to pay with his dignity for another’s assistance. That’s why it’s better to give anonymously. Similarly, give before you are asked. Spare the fellow the embarrassment of having to beg.

And the main ingredient: Give with a smile and genuine warmth. No one should have to pay with his dignity for another’s assistanceHow you give, our sages taught, is more important than how much you give!

The Right Time to Do It:

It’s always the right time to give. But certain times are more auspicious than others.

Drop a few coins in the pushka (charity box) before your prayers. Provide for others and G‑d will provide for you.

Women and girls should do the same before lighting Shabbat and holiday candles—before ushering in the holiest days on the calendar.

It’s an age-old tradition to pledge money to tzedakah in the merit of the souls of departed loved ones while saying Yizkor. In their heavenly abode they cannot do mitzvahs, so it’s up to us to do it for them.

The Result of Doing It:

When G‑d made the world, He left us the task of injecting it with spirituality and meaning. Nothing accomplishes this goal like tzedakah. Give tzedakah, and all the effort which went into making that hard-earned money takes on a new meaning, serving more than a selfish need. That’s why our sages tell us: “Great is charity, for it hastens the Redemption!”