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Mitzvah #38c


Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

First Section – the Positive Commandments

38. It is a positive commandment to give charity to the poor of Israel

We obligated to be careful with the commandment of charity more than any other positive commandment, because charity is a sign of the children of Avraham. The throne of Israel is not properly established nor can true knowledge stand without charity, as it says in Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 1:27, "Zion shall be redeemed in judgment and those that return to it with charity." Anyone that is cruel, his lineage is to be suspected because cruelty is found only among non-Jews, as it says in Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 50:42, "They are cruel and have no compassion." All of Israel are like brothers, as it says in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 14:1, "You are children to Hashem, your G-d." If a brother is not compassionate to his brother, who will he be compassionate to?! To who should the poor of Israel lift their eyes to? The non-Jew that hates him and pursues after him?! So, their eyes only seek out their brother's.

It is a commandment to give charity with a smiling face and happiness. Nothing bad ever results from giving charity. No person becomes poor by giving charity as it states in Yeshayahu 32:17, "The work of the righteous shall be peace." A person must appease the poor man with words. One must not rebuke him nor raise a voice at him, because his heart is broken. Woe to the person that shames a poor man.

If a person persuades others to give charity, his reward is greater than one who gives. Anyone that acts with compassion, others will have compassion on him, as it says in Devarim 13:18, "He shall show you compassion, have compassion on you, and increase you." There is no greater commandment than redeeming a person. Whoever hides his eyes from this, transgresses many positive and negative commandments.

This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.