Rambam PictureMaimonides  2nd Level Giving Fund

Rabbi Dan Gordon, Treasurer

Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides and the Rambam, was a physician, a philosopher, an author, an astronomer and a committed Jew.  He lived in the 12th Century, primarily in Morocco and Egypt.  His writings on Jewish law and ethics are often considered to represent the purest of Jewish teachings.  His work is varied:  his Mishneh Torah is a code of Jewish law and his philosophical Guide to the Perplexed blends Jewish philosophy with Aristotle.  Among his well-known teachings are the 13 Principles of Faith and his guide to charitable giving (tzedakah).

There is actually no word for “charity” in Hebrew, although tzedakah comes closest.  Most Jewish people think that is the translation.  But tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, which combines justice and righteousness.  It is our obligation to give to those in need.  Maimonides looked at this concept and developed a “ladder” of righteousness.  He determined that all tzedakah is good and righteous, but some reach a higher level.  The list below ranks different levels of tzedakah from the most noble forms to the least.

  1. Giving an interest-free loan or grant to a person in need; finding a job or partnership for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient.
  3. Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving tzedakah before being asked.
  6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving “in sadness” or reluctantly.

As you can see, the highest level according to Maimonides is to help someone become self-sufficient.  The second highest level involves anonymity, so that the giver gets no credit and the recipient feels no obligation.  It is with this in mind that the Maimonides 2nd Level Giving Fund was created.  A small group of donors are able to make anonymous donations, fulfilling the teaching from Pirke Avot (Ethics of our Ancestors) that teaches “The reward of the mitzvah is the mitzvah itself.” (4:2)  The funds will be distributed to needy individuals and families anonymously, in the spirit of the Rambam’s teachings.  Those wishing to participate in this unique mitzvah may learn how to donate by emailing Rabbi Dan Gordon through this website (contact).  All contributions and disbursements will remain anonymous, though donors will receive a statement on request for tax purposes.

Maimonides 2nd Level Giving Fund is a 501-c3 non-profit organization, and contributions are tax-deductible.