Monday, September 24, 2012

Charity - Book One


1. All the charity and kindness that the Jewish People do in this world [engenders] great peace and [the formation of] angelic advocates between Israel and their Father in Heaven.

2. Great is charity, in that it brings the Redemption near.

3. And saves from death.

4. And [causes the] receiving of the Divine Presence.

5. And one is made a lender to the Holy Blessed One.

6. And raises his fortune (mazal).

7. And he is called a tzaddik completely (i.e. an absolutely righteous person).

8. Through charity, a person becomes (a fulfillment of Biblical injuction) “avoid evil”.

9. It is a greater mitzva (good Torah deed) to provide food for those who study (literally - occupied with) the Torah than for those who do not study. However, from the standpoint of halachah (religious law), there is no (grounds) to differentiate.

10. When one extracts stolen goods from the hands of his fellowman, it is as if he has given charity (translators note: according to Rabbi Nachman of Tcherin, Rabbi Nachman is coming from the same place as the Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin 6b, if this is the case, the considered charity is being given to the thief, in that which he is being saved from retaining the theft).

11. Compromise is a legal judgment wherein there is charity (translators note: that part which is forfeited to the other litigant).

12. One who gives charity to an improper poor person is not rewarded for it.

13. It is necessary to be appreciative to one who gives, and you should not say that he didn't give of his own (translators note: Rabbi Nachman of Tcherin provides two places where this concept is found: 1. The Talmud (B”B 9b – see Charity item 19) teaches that by virtue of one's pursuit to give charity, God provides with money to enable him to give it, according to this it is understood that even though the money is from God, one should be appreciative to the giver. 2. The Talmud (B”K 92b) relates that people are appreciative to the waiter who brings them the wine, even though he is only delivering to them the King's wine. This is can be understood with everything in the world really belonging to God, even still one should be appreciative to the person who gives. This second instance is a much greater application, for here the waiter is simply a messenger giving nothing of his own, where as in the first instance the charity giver pursuit to give the charity is what led to God providing him with the means to do so).

14. Charity has the importance of all the other commandments combined.

15. The one who brings another to do [i.e. give charity, i.e. the one collecting the charity] is greater than the one who does [who gives the charity].

16. Every penny and penny (of charity one gives) is added together into a large sum.

17. One who gives charity in a hidden manner is greater than Moshe (Moses) [translators note: This has to be understood in context of the regular function of Moshe as the leader of Israel, because obviously Moshe also gave charity in a hidden manner (see Tosfos in B”B 9b)].

18. One who gives a coin to a poor person is blessed with six (blessings), and one who placates him is blessed with eleven (blessings).

19. One who pursues (opportunities to give) charity, G-d provides him with money, and provides him with upright people (in need of charity), in order that he should gain reward from (giving charity to) them, and he merits having children who are wealthy, wise, and masters of Aggadah (homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical section of the Torah).

20. On Rosh HaShana, man is judged how much money he will lose (i.e. fail to keep). If he merits, he gives that money to the poor.

21. Jerusalem is redeemed with charity.

22. Through charity, Achav (translator's note: one of the most evil Kings of Israel) was forgiven half (of his sins).

23. Hospitality protects one from the (punishment of the) sin of idolatry.

24. Great is hospitality, in that makes those who are close (to holiness) distanced (tranlator's note: If the purpose of the hospitality was to bring the guest to sin), and brings near (to holiness) those who are distant.

25. One who invites a non-Jew into his house and serves him causes his children to be exiled.

26. When the people do not give charity, the government passes harsh decrees and takes their money.

27. One should give charity with both hands [which causes] his prayer to be heard.

28. Through generosity you will have a standing.

29. Through charity comes faith.

30. One who goes out for the benefit of charities, sedates rage from the world.

31. Also, he merits to truth.

32. Through charity, you will have children, and there will be peace between them.

33. Through charity, the fruit proliferate.

34. Through charity, one draws salvation close.

35. In a time of trouble, the charity one did is remembered for him.

36. Through the charity you give, officials and kings will also have peaceful relations with you.

37. Through charity a person will not hear (know) from theft, armed pillage, or hunger.

38. Through charity a person merits grace.

39. One who urges people to give charity increases salvation.

40. When there is not someone in a city to support the needy, fire comes upon it.

41. In the merit of charity, one is saved from arrogance.

42. Faith is reckoned as charity.

43. Through charity given for the sake of Heaven, one comes to the quality of [holy] shame.

44. Through generosity one comes to love the tzaddikim.

45. One who steals from the poor, humiliation comes to him.

46. One who gives charity is as if he offered a sacrifice.

47. Through charity comes rain.

48. Through charity the Jews are not banished from their place.

49. When people give charity, the fruits are blessed and there is peace in the world.

50. Through truth, the charity you do is noted (lit. seen).

51. Charity protects a person’s descendants.

52. One who prays for one's friend, it is reckoned for him as charity.

53. One who is materially well-off, and despite that, is miserly (literally, a bad eye) toward the poor who approach and beg him (literally, stretch out their hands) to give them; also, one who provides funding for a venture for half the profits, and they work and bring him his half, and when he sees that they are profiting and have an income and enough to suffice, he is irked by this due to his miserliness (literally, bad eye)— on these will be fulfilled the prophecy beginning after the verse "In the fulfillment of his needs" until "This is the portion of a wicked man." (Iyov 20:22-29. See there, the Divine wrath rains down upon him etc.)

54. One who does kindness to those who love the Blessed G-d, through this he repairs the “spoiling of the Covenant” (referring to sexual transgressions).

55. In the merit of the poor, we are saved from the nations.

56. When you do a mitzvah (a commandment or good deed), see to it that the mitzva is not for free, but that you pay with a full purse.

57. Due to the sin of not giving the trumah and maaser (portions and tithes given to the priests, leviites, and poor), the Heavens are held up and there is strong inflation.

58. The joy one feels in giving charity is a sign of a whole heart.

59. Give charity (literally do), while you still have (the opportunity; that you) found [a befitting recipient], and you have [the money to give], and you are still in your own hands [i.e. able, i.e. before you die – interpretation of Rash”i in Tractate Shabbos 151b].

60. All who give their gifts to a specific Cohen (one of the Priestly tribe) [i.e. always favoring him and never giving the gifts to a different Cohen], bring famine to the world.

61. One who provides merchandise for Torah scholars to profit from, merits to sit in the Yeshiva of Heaven.

62. Charity is greater than all the sacrificial offerings.

63. Doing acts of kindness is greater than giving charity.

64. Lest you [err and] say that anyone who jumps to give charity, he is provided for, and there is produced for him proper (needy) people (to whom to give)—the Torah says, "How precious…", [meaning] one needs to labor and chase after them, for (the proper poor) they are not readily found, to merit (giving charity) with the proper (poor).

65. Charity is in two areas: According to one's generosity (i.e. when a person doesn't have very much, it is up to his generosity), and according to what God has blessed with him (i.e. when a person isn't generous, he should still be giving according to his wealth).

66. One who has (money), but does not want to use his own money for his expenditures, so he receives from others, know that they will collect from him after his death; that he will become a slave to one from whom he took.

67. One who gives charity, even still it is possible that he will be impoverished.

68. Anyone who averts their eyes from (seeing the need) to give charity, it is as if he is serving idolatry.

69. One who shears his possessions [to give charity] is saved from the judgment of Hell.

70. Even a poor person should give charity, and he will not see further signs of poverty.

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