“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am Adonai your God.” Exodus 23:22

When we speak of tzedakah, the word is often translated as “charity” but it is more accurate to say righteousness. Tzedakah can take many forms (including monetary donations) but it’s important to note that tzedakah is not a benevolent contribution given to be kind or nice it is a way of balancing the scales, an active working towards justice. 

A simple example, is a donation to the local food bank– this should not be to gain favor with God, or to be nice to those with less, but rather because it is unjust for anyone to be without food.

Correcting injustice, balancing the scales, evaluating the distribution of power and creating equity is tzedakah, the work of righteousness.

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