Tzedakah

TZEDAKAH

THE CONCEPT OF TZEDAKAH / RIGHTEOUSNESS OR
CHARITY?

Bereshit 15:6 And he (Abraham) believed (Ve’
HeÆmin) in the Eternal; and it was given to him as righteousness
(Tzedakah).

And Abraham Believed. Really? Is that really what
happened? Abraham just blindly believed and God made him a Tzadik (A
righteous person). Actually, it is not as simple as the Greco-Roman
world has made us believed. In fact, Abraham didn’t just believed.
Let’s see, if that translation is accurate; if Genesis 15:6 really
means that he believed, then what happened two verses after? Why is
Abraham still questioning God with doubt about the same fact? Because
Abraham didn’t just believed blindly as the Non-Jewish world wants
to make us swallow. The word “He’Æmin” coming from the Hebrew
word “Amen” does not just mean believe, it has a group of
meanings just like the word Tzedakah does not just mean
righteousness.

What Really is Tzedakah?

The Concept of Tzedakah. Tzedakah is the Hebrew
word for philanthropy and charity. It is a form of social justice in
which a giver benefits from giving as much or even more than the
recipients. The word Tzedakah used in the verse above seems to be
more like God teaching Abraham about a concept which, as a matter of
fact, he seems to have grasped very well, as we learned that
throughout his whole life, he had become the biggest Philanthropist
the world has ever known, Abraham went out giving Tzedakah to anyone
that went by his dwelling, he fed and hosted in his tent anyone
passing by.

So then what is it that God saw in Abraham that he
granted the concept of Tzedakah to him? Arguably as we will see
later, God saw that Abraham will remain faithful to him for all
eternity, in that he will pass down whatever God teaches him to all
the future generations forever. One of the meaning of the word “Amen”
as it says above Abraham He’Emin ..  is to train or to coach
someone. And to continue exploring what happened at verse 6 above, we
must also see the various meanings for that word, as we take a look
at the other form of the word Amen also; like Ne’Æmen (Ne’Eman),
MaÆmin (Ma’Amin).

With these we will see that the concept is far
from been simple as, we seem to be getting into something more like
Fidelity, faithfulness, loyalty, etc. So it would seem more like what
God saw in Abraham is the fact that he will remain faithful to him,
despite of all his life circumstances.

Ne’eman means true, devoted, staunch. And it
also means Faithful, constant, loyal; it implies the qualities of
stability, dependability, and devotion. It implies a long-continued
and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by a pledge, duty,
or obligation: “Like a faithful friend”.

Now let’s look at another verse in Genesis
chapter 18:19, and we’ll see that it confirms  for sure that
this description is more accurate and more appropriate as a
translation for Genesis 15:6 than what the western world has been
trying to make us believe that verse 6 means. So God said:

“Because I have known him (Abraham) to the very
end,  he will command his children and his household after him,
so that they will keep the way of the Eternal, which is to do
“Tzedakah and Justice”; and that’s the reason why The Eternal
will bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.”

Wonderful this verse seems to answer all the
questions, God has analysed abraham from the beginning to the end and
as He is the Eternal God, who is the past, the present and the future
until eternity, he saw that Abraham for sure would be passing down
his legacy to all his generations in the future for all eternity, and
so God gave him as a gift “The Way of God”. And what is the way
of God? The concept of Tzedakah and Justice. Whoever receives this
concept will engage in acts of loving kindness for the sake of
heaven.

So then base on that clarification, how do we shed light on Genesis 15:6? Well, if we now put it into perspective with all the info we just gathered, that verse must be translated as follows:

Tzedakah

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“And since he (Abraham) would remain
faithful  to the Eternal God; so then the concept of Tzedakah
was given to him.”

The Concept of Tzedakah and Justice are called the Way of God. And
Abraham became a master at it, he went on doing good to countless
number of people, anyone that went by his dwelling became a recipient
of his Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of Kindness). In fact the continuity of
the whole world is based on this. The great sages of the Torah tell
us that the world depends on three things to continue existing, these
are:  Torah, Service of God and Acts of human Kindness.

Three Pillars That Maintain The World

In the Mishnah of Pirke Avot 1:2, Shimon Ha’Tzadik declares that
the world stands on three things: Torah, service [of God], and acts
of human kindness.

Pillar 1.  And Aish Ha’Torah says that the
first pillar of creation is knowing your identity and your mission.
The Torah is God’s instructions for our lives. It provides the
understanding to help refine our nature and perfect ourselves. It is
the means by which we learn what the world is about, and what our
obligations are.

Pillar 2.  Avodah, the second pillar, is
service of God. Really? What does that mean to serve God? And why
would He want us to do so? Isn’t He an all-powerful, perfect being
with no lack to be filled by anyone? I thought that by definition God
has no need of our obeisance. So why does He want us to “serve”
Him?

Clearly, service of God is for our benefit, not His.

Three activities are commonly referred to as “serving God”:
Prayer, Mitzvot and The Temple Service.
The Temple service was the ultimate act of harnessing the physical,
and converting it to serve the spiritual ― an open and concrete
demonstration of the physical world’s subordination to our will.

Mitzvot (Commandments) are
physical actions imbued with spiritual significance. Every Mitzvah
involves an opportunity to use our free will to transcend visceral
drives.

….. Mitzvot

Mitzvot are the levers which allow actions in a physical universe
to have impact on a spiritual soul. Mitzvot are the embodiment of the
soul harnessing the power of physicality and the body.

Prayer, as discussed above, is the process of
focusing one’s will directly on ultimate goals ― e.g. self
perfection, a relationship with others, and a relationship with God.

God created us to impart these ultimate pleasures. The extent to
which we seek to elevate our world and allow the spiritual to
transcend the physical, is the extent to which we can be said to
“serve God.” The second pillar of creation is, therefore,
to fulfill your mission.

Chesed or Gemilut Hassadim (Acts
of Kindness), the third pillar, is a commitment to performing acts of
human kindness. Life is not a zero sum game. The success of others is
your boon not your bane.

God created us in order to give us good. The world was designed such that the greatest good is to give to others and to be other-centered. A person totally focussed on himself and oblivious to the needs of others has, almost by definition, failed in the first two pillars. The third pillar of creation is to know that you are not in it alone. You are your brother’s keeper. It is only after being diligent in God’s way that you then becomes a Tzaddik or a Master of Tzedek (A righteous person). So finally Abraham was a Tzadik (A righteous person), but not because he believe, he was faithful to God and work at it coached others to be the same and his legacy lives in us today, just like God saw it beforehand, Abraham passed it down to us.

What does Tzedek mean?

Tzedek or tzadikim [tsadiˈkim] צדיקים‬)
in its plural form is a title in Hebrew given to people considered
righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The
root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q ( צדק‬
tsedek), which means “justice” or
“righteousness”.

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