12 May 2010
Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" - Giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes.
However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity.
The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy but the word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous or magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty; giving for the poor as their due.