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Charity. Its one of the things that defines Civilizations, our civilization, our roots, and our religion. It defines the boundaries between good and evil. Enabling people to help the poor or take care of one another each in their own way. But for something that is so important we really do not have any idea what it is.

It is a concept that despite being so central and so core to our very being is one that does not seem itself to be easily defined. There is a lot of debate, and always will be on who should help, who shouldn’t, how you should give, where you should give, how much you should give, even if you should give at all. Whether or not it is your individual responsibility or if an organization or Government should force you to give…to it…so then they can put that money to use on…whatever they want. Trying in their minds, I’m sure, to help.

But lets stick with generalities here. What does Charity usually mean in the modern context? Well giving money to soup kitchens. Your favorite non-profit cause. Helping a granny cross the street or giving five dollars to someone on the side of the road so they can build a sandwich.

Helping each other, assisting one another, being there to offer a bed, or clothing, or food, or money or even sage counsel.

Charity, today, is about investing your resources, usually time and money, to do an altruistic and selfless thing, with little to no personal gain, in order to provide for someone else. Usually out of religious obligation or a sense to be kind.

But that is not all Charity is, it is not all Charity can be.

It is the ability to not only give help, a place to sleep, or a warm meal. But it is the ability to get someone going, to get them out of their current situation and try to make them a better person to where they do not need your charity.

According to the Jewish thought that I have read there are eight levels of Charity. (source). All the way from ‘giving begrudgingly,’ to allowing a person to become self-reliant, to make it on their own.

It’s not a matter between good or evil, or good or bad types of charity. All of these charities are good, just that the highest level of charity is to provide so that the other person can move off your assistance and become a benefit to others.

To teach a man to fish, in other words.

To teach a man to work and to be educated while you are providing for their basic needs. Or doing that without providing for their basic needs.

So in a sense scholarships are the purest form of charity.

But also, dare I say it, jobs. The rich providing work and working conditions for employees and giving them a pay check so they can make money and be self-reliant and hopefully improve their lot in life.

That is what Charity is. It’s not just to give to give and to give without end hoping that the band aid can magically sprout wings and they can take off. But it is charity, with a purpose.

That is the highest level of charity. To move forward and teach, and allow them to get to a point where they can make their own charities, and then from there the cycle continues.

This is what charity has to be, otherwise it’s not worth it.

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2 Comments

  1. “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” I think sums up true charity quite nicely.

    a point I make in my own blogs on this subject ya copycat! šŸ˜›

    • Hey I steal from the best. šŸ˜›


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