Give (Tzedakah)
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Pursue Justice
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Tzedakah, which, in a literal sense, refers to acts of righteous and justice, frequently refers to charity. Charity typically is associated with making financial contributions to causes that support those in need, however, acts of tzedakah encompass more than the giving of money. Jewish tradition stresses that the giving of tzedakah is an obligation, in addition to a meaningful opportunity to provide for those in need. As such, the Talmud notes that Jews are required to provide one-tenth of their income to the poor. In addition, many of the Jewish holidays require some act of tzedakah, whether it be financial or otherwise. For example, the giving of mishloach manot, gift baskets sent to family and friends, on Purim is one act of tzedakah. Furthermore, the notion that even the poorest individual has the right to recline on Passover can be interpreted as tzedakah as well. These acts remind us of the importance of being part of a community, because kol yisrael aravim zeh l’zeh, “all of Israel is responsible for each other.” With that in mind, tzedakah challenges us to support all of our community in righteous deeds and actions.

Questions for Reflection

1. Do acts of charity strictly refer to financial giving? Why or why not?
2. What acts of righteous and justice do you do that can be interpreted as tzedakah?
3. How does the act of tzedakah serve as a reminder that we are responsible for everyone in our community?
4. How can the value of tzedakah be incorporated within your classroom?

Help those in need.

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