Sunday, May 05, 2013

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Greater than Charity

via Lma’an Yishme’u

What mitzva could possibly be greater than tzedaka (charity)? Chazal say that doing kindly deeds, gemilus chassadim (good deeds), is greater than tzedaka in three ways. Firstly, tzedaka is done with money only, while gemilus chassadim is done with money (such as by giving a loan) but also personally (e.g., by burying the dead, bringing joy to a chassan and kalla, or escorting a departing friend). Secondly, tzedaka is for the needy, while gemilus chassadim can be done for any person. Thirdly, tzedaka is given only to the living, while gemilus chassadim can also be done towards those who have passed on.

The value of kindness is measured according to the goodness of heart and effort invested in it. When one prepares food or delivers clothing to the poor, he is devoting thought and care for the other.

(סוכה מ"ט ע"ב)

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