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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Hand-up, not hand-out is highest form of charity

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Helping out an unemployed person, or any needy person, is a wonderful act of kindness. The Torah commands:

If there will be a needy person from among your brothers, in one of your gates in your land which the Lord your G0d gives you, don't harden your heart and don't close your hand to your needy brother. Surely open your hand and lend him whatever he is lacking for his needs. (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).

We see from this that there is a commandment to provide for the poor person "whatever he is lacking". But we also see that the verse makes reference to a loan, not a donation. It seems that a loan is preferable for some reason.

Maimonides explains why a loan is preferable to a donation, and provides a general principle for evaluating different levels of charitable giving:

There are eight levels of charity, one above the other. The highest level, than which none is higher, is to strengthen the hand of the Israelite who is struggling by giving him a gift, or a loan, or a partnership, or giving him a job in order to strengthen his hand, so that he should need to ask others. (1)

Maimonides' second level is to give anonymously, so that the recipient isn't ashamed before his benefactor.


Letter from JWR publisher


So we see that the main consideration is the recipient's dignity — that he shouldn't have to ask or feel ashamed before his benefactor. From this point of view a government-sanctioned benefit is certainly better than a charitable donation. These benefits are generally considered an entitlement, rather than a donation.

In fact, there is a special advantage to this specific entitlement. The Torah tells us of a special kind of "severance pay", the gift given to an indentured servant when his term is over (Deuteronomy 15:13-14):

And when you send him free from you, don't send him empty-handed. Surely grant him from your flock, and your granary, and your winepress, which the Lord your G0d blessed you, give him.

The Sefer HaChinuch suggests that even though today we don't have indentured servants, it is a nice idea nowadays also to give a parting gift.

However, it seems to me that the highest level of charity is to give a person a job. The Talmud tells us:

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says, a loan is preferable to a donation, and a partnership better than all. (2)

Therefore, it seems to me that to the extent this person is in need of income, you are already fulfilling your obligation to him at the highest possible level – you are giving him a job. If he wants to quit in order to find a better job that is certainly his right and privilege, but it doesn't make him needy. If the income he is getting now is adequate to keep him from being considered needy, then I think the best course of action is just to make clear to him that you are happy to keep him on. If he truly needs the income, then you are getting a good worker, and he is getting needed income in a way that has no shame whatsoever. I don’t think there is any reason why you should trade the highest level of charity for a lower grade.

The exception would be if the income you can offer him is simply not adequate for him to support his family at a decent level. Then helping him along with a severance benefit until he can find a sustainable position would indeed be the highest level of charity you could provide.


SOURCES: (1) Maimonides' Code, Gifts to the Poor 10:7 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Shabbaa 63a

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology.

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