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Honorable Ways to Give Charity

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Maimonides, often called by his acronym RaMBaM (Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon), was a 12th century Jewish scholar and physician. Rambam wrote a code of Jewish law, the Mishnah Torah, based on the Rabbinic oral tradition.

Rambam organized the different levels of tzedakah (charity) into a list from the least to the most honorable.

8. When donations are given grudgingly.

7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.

6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.

5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.

4. When the recipient is aware of the donor's identity, but the donor does not know the identity of the recipient.

3. When the donor is aware of the recipient's identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source.

2. When the donor and recipient are unknown to each other.

1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.
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