In Judaism, giving tzedakah (translated as charity, justice or righteousness) is an obligation on each person — including those who are themselves in need. Why should a person who depends on tzedakah be obligated to give tzedakah to others? Giving tzedakah not only provides for someone else’s physical needs; it also confers dignity on the person giving. In other words, giving tzedakah benefits the giver as well as the recipient. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, “The paradox of giving is that when we…give to another, it is we ourselves who are lifted. I believe that what elevates us in life is not what we receive but what we give.”
An expanded curriculum is available for this topic.