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Shalom from the Shabbat Lady

by Laura Seymour

Special to DJW

Dear parents and children,

Hebrew is such a wonderful language with special messages in every word. A wonderful word with an important value is Tzedakah. Although tzedakah is often translated as "charity", the idea is much different. Tzedakah comes from the root word for justice.

Tzedakah is not a choice but a commandment for us to do the right thing to help others. This value can become habit at a very young age and once a habit is established, it will last throughout our lifetime. We want our children to develop caring and empathy for others and to reach out to help. We want them to know that this is the right thing to do.

Below are the eight levels of giving developed by Maimonides. They are a wonderful basis for a discussion with the entire family. Talk, think and give!

Eight levels of tzedakah

from the Rambam

(better known as Maimonides)

1. The person who gives reluctantly and with regret.

2. The person who gives graciously, but less than one should.

3. The person who gives what one should, but only after being asked.

4. The person who gives before being asked.

5. The person who gives without knowing to whom one gives, although the recipient knows the identity of the donor.

6. The person who gives without making one's identity known.

7. The person who gives without knowing to whom one gives. The recipient does not know from whom he receives.

8. The person who helps another to support oneself by a gift or a loan or by finding employment for that person, thus helping that person to become self-supporting.

Laura Seymour is the director of Taglit Preschool at the J.

This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, March 27, 2003








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