Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meiri- Who Should Get Tzedaka (Charity) and Loving Kindness

The Meiri in Tractate Chulin on page 133A talks about who should receive Tzedaka (Charity). He says,

"Even though loving kindness is a superior trait and the paths of the Torah are great, one is not obligated to give kindness to someone that will not recognize it."

Also, the Meiri goes further and tells us in Tractate Succah that the trait of loving kindness is greater than Tzedaka (Charity) since Tzedaka is only by poor people, but the trait of loving kindness applies to poor people and rich people. Also, tzedaka only applies to money, whereas loving kindness applies to money and other types of help.

It seems like even though a person can be completely loving and kind, if the recipient of this love and kindness does not deserve this treatment they should not receive it. Anyone that looks down on you for any reason does not deserve your tzedaka or loving kindness. If anyone will not appreciate you or your lifestyle, if they look down on you for how you live, then it seems like the Meiri is saying that they don't deserve your loving kindness or your tzedaka.

The moral here is that anyone can give money to whoever they choose. Anyone can help people out, no matter who they are. However, we should all realize who we are really obligated to help out. The people in our communities that will appreciate our charity deserve our help more than people in other communities and people that will take our help without appreciation. Also, people accepting the tzedaka and loving kindness should be appreciative of all the tzedaka and loving kindness that they receive. They should never think that they are entitled to the tzedaka that they receive or the loving kindness, one should always be appreciative because they should realize that one day they might not receive this kindness or tzedaka.

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