June 10, 2024

Unveiling the 8 Degrees of Giving with Colel Chabad

Assortment of Colel Chabad Pushka

Tzedakah, Chesed, and Philanthropy are the foundation of the Jewish faith. These principles not only form the moral backbone of the community but also reflect the essence of Judaism. 

In this blog post, we explore the eight degrees of charitable giving according to Jewish tradition. Keep reading to learn how the origins, meanings, and significance of each level play into our daily lives and community-based initiatives.

Exploring Tzedakah, Chesed, and Philanthropy as Sacred Pillars

At the core and history of Judaism lies the profound commitment to charity, justice, and acts of loving-kindness known as Chesed. Tzedakah, often translated as charity, goes beyond mere monetary contributions. 

Tzedakah and Jewish Philanthropy also encompass righteous acts that promote social justice and improve the lives of others. Tzedakah extends beyond the tangible act of giving and includes different gestures, from the practical—such as offering a ride—to the profound—like providing emotional support to a friend in distress.

Although there are Tzedakah boxes, or Pushkas that can be used to collect charitable donations throughout the year, this financial contribution reflects only one aspect of giving in the Jewish faith. There are eight levels of giving, each reflecting the giver’s sensitivity to the needs and emotions of the receiver. 

Throughout Jewish history, key religious figures like Rabbi Meir Baal Haness have shown us the many great things one can do across these multiple levels.

The 8 Levels of Charity 

The concept of the “eight degrees of giving in Judaism” finds its roots in Maimonides’ “Mishneh Torah.” Each level represents a different approach to giving and denotes the various ways one can pursue the mitzvah of contributing to the well-being of others. These are the fundamentals of Tzedakah and the selflessness of the Chabad movement and are considered to be mitzvahs, or good deeds.

Level 8: Giving Begrudgingly

At this level, the act of giving is done with reluctance, but the donation is made nonetheless. Even if the giver’s heart is not fully in it, the act still benefits the recipient.

Level 7: Giving Less Than You Should, But Pleasantly

While the amount given may not be the maximum, the giver does so with a cheerful disposition, recognizing the importance of the act.

Level 6: Giving When You Are Asked 

Responding to a request for assistance demonstrates a willingness to help. This level highlights the importance of being attentive to the needs of others.

Level 5: Giving Before You Are Asked

Anticipating the needs of others and offering help before it is sought is a higher form of charity. It reflects a proactive and compassionate approach to giving.

Level 4: Giving Anonymously To an Unknown Recipient

Here, the focus is solely on the act of giving, with the giver unaware of who will benefit. However, the recipient may know the giver. This level underscores the humility and selflessness inherent in true charity.

Level 3: Giving Anonymously To a Known Recipient

Building on the previous level, this degree involves knowing the recipient but maintaining anonymity. It allows the recipient to receive help without feeling indebted.

Level 2: Giving Openly When Both Parties Are Unaware of Each Other’s Identity

In this level, both the giver and recipient are unaware of each other’s identity, emphasizing the purity of the act without any personal gain or recognition.

Level 1: Establishing a Self-sustaining Business, Partnership, or Non-Profit Venture

The highest level of giving involves empowering others to become self-sufficient. Creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods has a lasting impact on the community.

How to Give with Colel Chabad

Colel Chabad is a symbol of compassion. The organization has been at the forefront of charitable endeavors for decades through various initiatives, including feeding the hungry, supporting widows and orphans, and providing healthcare

Colel Chabad embodies the spirit of Jewish charity. Learn how you can get involved with us.

The 8 Degrees of Giving at the Core of Colel Chabad

The eight degrees of giving provide a roadmap for fulfilling the mitzvah of charity in the most meaningful way. By reflecting on these levels, we can be inspired to embody the true spirit of giving in our lives. 

Join Colel Chabad in the mission to make the world a better place. Your contribution, no matter the size, can ignite a positive change and bring warmth to those in need. You can also donate your time to Jewish charities by volunteering, making just as much of an impact. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the world, one act of kindness at a time and supporting Israel and its charitable organizations. 

Explore the best ways to support Israel and engage in charitable programs that make a difference. Consider making online donations to Colel Chabad and other reputable Jewish non-profit organizations. Your generosity can shape a brighter future for Israeli families and contribute to the legacy of Jewish philanthropy.


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בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלִי נֶדֶר אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה