(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:12:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Seven Levels of Charity

<  <  Where would I find out about the 7 levels of charity? Is it in Pirkei
Avot?>  >

This citation appears wrong but actually Pirkay avoth has 4 personality
types (of possession), Rambam lists 7 paragraphs on charity giver types,
and there are actually 8 levels.  Let us review these.

Pirkey Avoth contains 4 types of personality based on possession (yours is
yours, mine is mine; yours is mine, mine is yours, etc.  Chapter 5).

The 7 (actually 8) levels of Charity are found in the Laws of Gifts to The
Poor (Rambam) Chapter 10:7-14 (there are 7 paragraphs, 8-14, for the 8

It always helps when reviewing laws to understand the underlying concepts
behind them. In the case at hand the 8 levels measure "how much humiliation
there is in the giving of charity". "Humiliation" in turn refers to an
emphasis on the helplessness of the poor. The less emphasis on helplessness
the higher the level of charity. It is easier to remember this one concept
of "lack of emphasis on helplessness" then to memorize the 8 levels.

There are 4 components to this measure of helplessness: a) do the parties
know who is giving/receiving, b) was the amount adequate, c) was it given
pleasantly. The highest level comes from the 4th components--d) was it
given as charity!?!? Paradoxically, giving someone charity reminds him that
he is poor!? The highest level is to give a loan or establish a business
partnership that allows the receiver to achieve self sufficiency.

Russell Hendel; Phd,ASA;Math,Towson Univ;