Tzedakah, the Hebrew word for justice/ righteousness is more commonly used to signify charity. Giving Tzedakah is an integral part of Judaism and very different to the meaning of the word charity, which suggests benevolence or generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy for the benefit of the poor. We are taught from a young age of the importance of caring for all members of society and helping them. The highest form of Tzedakah is when we donate anonymously, in order to help others support themselves, while requiring nothing in return for this act, as it is our duty and obligation and cannot be forsaken by anyone, even those who are in need themselves. It is said to be the highest of all the commandments given to the Jewish people. The word itself has Middle-Eastern origins, in Islam ‘Sadaqah’ or Arabic ‘Saddka’ meaning voluntary charity.
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