by Empower Music & Arts
6. Take a Tip from Tzedakah
Tzedekah (pronounced like Neil Sedaka) is loosely translated from the Hebrew as "charity", but the meaning is really deeper than that. The website www.jewfaq.org says, The word 'charity' suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy. The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due.
Tzedakah box, Charleston, 1820, silver, Nat'l Mus. of Amer. Jewish History by wiki
Tzedekah extends beyond boundaries to include both Jews and gentiles, and some Jews consider it to be the most important commandment. Yet a remarkably small portion of their gifts go to specifically Jewish charities, and while Jews comprise about 2% of the American population, they make up about 30% of America's most generous donors.
The levels of Tzedakah, ranked here in ascending order of greatest good, is an inspiring list for a person of any religious or nonreligious persuasion:
1. Giving begrudgingly
2. Giving less that you should, but giving it cheerfully
3. Giving after being asked
4. Giving before being asked
5. Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity
6. Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity
7. Giving when neither party knows the other's identity
8. Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant
When neither the person who gives nor the recipient knows the identity of the other, the only place to focus one's attention is on the joy of giving, which is the main point, anyway.
So give yourself the gift of enjoying the season, and remember to sprinkle a few random acts of kindness around your world!
Some suggestions from my previous annual gift ideas lists are still relevant, links are in the Series List below.