Maimonides Eight Levels of Giving

On Sunday, January 18, Ann Paddock spoke about Maimonides eight levels of giving as described by the great Jewish thinker. Here they are, paraphrased by John Paddock, from the least to the greatest.[1]

  1. This is when one gives unwillingly, perhaps due to pressure from others.
  2. One gives inadequately, but gladly and with a smile.
  3. One gives to the poor person after being asked.
  4. One gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.
  5. One does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The great sages would throw coins behind their backs, and the poor would come to pick up the coins so that they would not be ashamed.
  6. One knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor as when the donor might leave coins on the doorstep of the poor.
  7. One gives to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from whom he received. This is performing an act of charity solely for the sake of Heaven.
  8. The greatest level is to support another by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order that he need no longer be dependent upon others.