Posted June 08, 2007 by

Finding Work for Someone is the Highest Level of Charity



Yesterday at the dinner table my wife and I had one of those “we must be doing something right” moments. We were talking about work and how we’re about to hire a new Client Services Representative when our 12 year old (we also have 10 and 8 year olds) said that hiring someone is the highest level of tzedakah. For those who do not know Hebrew, and I fall into the group that knows just a little, tzedakah is often translated as being equivalent to charity or tithe but that is not an accurate translation because charity implies that your heart motivated to act. Tzedakah, however, literally means righteousness. In other words, tzedakah means doing the right thing.

I was pretty sure that my 12 year old was right but I looked it up today and confirmed that all of those years of Religious School didn’t go to waste. Maimonides defined nine levels in giving tzedakah:

  1. Giving assistance to a someone who has fallen on hard times by presenting a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with the person, or finding them work, thereby helping that person to become self supporting.
  2. Giving assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other.
  3. Donations to the community charities, which should only be done if there is confidence that the charity is administered in an honest, prudent, and efficient fashion.
  4. Donations when the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
  5. Donations when the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor still doesn’t know the specific identity of the recipient.
  6. Donations where each party knows the other, but the gift is given unasked.
  7. Donations where each party knows the other, but the gift is given only after a specific request.
  8. Donations where each party knows the other, but the gift is given only after a specific request, and the donor gives less than should be given (but does so willingly).
  9. Donations given grudgingly.

So the next time that you’re working with a candidate and helping them find a job, remember that you’re doing more than just your job. You’re also performing a righteous act.

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