The Eight Levels of Charity

Moses Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon – known as RAMBAM ) was one of the greatest authorities on Torah Law. Maimonides

He lived in the 12th century and is best known for his master work the “Mishneh Torah” which is an encyclopedia of the 613 Commandments of the Torah and how to observe them.

The Torah obliges us to “Give charity to the poor.” There are many ways that this can be done. Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah enumerates the ways one can fulfill this obligation. Here are the eight ways ranging from the lowest to the highest form of giving.

8. The minimum level is When donations are given grudgingly by the donor.

7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.

6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.

5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.

4. When the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor doesn’t know the specific identity of the recipient.

3. When the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.

2. When the giver and recipient are unknown to each other (when someone is collecting charity on behalf of a poor person). Communal funds, administered by responsible people are also in this category.

1. The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support an impoverished fellow by giving them a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with them, or giving them a job, in order to strengthen their hand until they no longer need to ask others for help . . .

The Eight Levels of Charity

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