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The Importance of Levels

As the chief rabbi famously said, on ‘accidentally’ eating pork chops, sometimes change can be a good thing.

Indeed, it is often the case that modern jewish practice finds itself way ahead of halacha and tradition. For example, where jewish law stipulates that one cannot work on shabbat, modern innovations such as the shabbat light, lift and goy have proved to be enlightened advances. Where tradition suggests that there is a duty to pursue justice, many have now found a blanket adoration of Israel an excellent substitute. And where tradition dictates that the sum given charity should be half a shekel, this has been cleverly replaced with a montly direct debit to the KKL in exchange for some expert advice on tax evasion.

Indeed, the whole area of charitable giving has changed so radically in the jewish world, that Jewdas would like to suggest a small change to Judaism’s most famous text on charity, Maimonides’ eight degrees of charity. Unlike the great man, we will start with the lowest level and work our way up:

  1. The lowest level, below which there is no other, is the one who gives indiscriminately. By this we mean the one who gives to a non-jew. This is not to be considered charity.
  2. Above this, is the one who gives to a jewish cause, but an undeserving one. These are known to include Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Independent Jewish Voices. A full list can be found here
  3. Above this, is one who gives to a synagogue, but a liberal one.
  4. Above this, is the giver who gives too liberally , thus endangering the mortgage on their second home
  5. Next, (and were getting pretty good here) is the person who gives to Israel by buying a flat in Tel-Aviv. Even though, this may seem less like giving, and more like acquiring a holiday home, it is important to remember that one can, and shoud sometimes be the recipient of one’s own charity..
  6. Above this, is the one who gives to Jewish causes only at fundraising dinners.
  7. Above this is the one who gives to Jewish causes only at fundraising dinners on Park Lane.
  8. And the highest level of giving is shown by the person who only gives at Jewish fundraising dinners on Park Lane, who spends all their time at this event networking, who complains at the lack of treif on the menu, who has been sent, in any case by their company and who actually finds the children of Norwood Ravenswood quite annoying.
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