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Charity and Tithing by Noahides
Thanks for your answer on if it is possible to regard donations to environmental organizations as tzedaka.

Your answer covers different aspects. That of political aspects (but no issue is not political) and that the environmental issues often are a matter of proper utilization and natural resources. Also, that a good environment gives joy to both G-d and humans.
You write that tzedaka means "righteousness," so increasing righteousness (according to Noahide Laws) and decreasing “unrighteousness” in the world should be the goal with giving.

I miss one aspect in the answer. What is the definition of tzedaka?
A definition would make it easier to know if I just give to a good cause or if I give true Tzedaka. Or is it up to me to decide if it is increasing righteousness?

"Tzedakah" is the word in Hebrew for one of the Jewish commandments. The Rebbe explains the meaning of this commandment in Likkutei Sichot, Vol. II, pp. 409-411 (edited slightly here from the translation by Sichos in English):

"Charity" commonly means gratuitous benefactions for the poor [a dictionary definition]. The giver of charity is a benevolent person, giving when he need not. He does not owe the poor person(s) anything, but gives because of his generosity.

"Tzedakah" has a completely opposite meaning. Instead of connoting benevolence, it is the idea of justice - that it is only right and just that one gives [something as] tzedakah. There are two reasons for this:

1) A person is obligated to give to another person, for the money is not his own. G-d has given that money to him on trust, for the purpose of giving it to other people.

2) G-d is not beholden to man, yet gives him what he needs. A Jew must act in the same way, indeed is obligated to: he must give to other people although not beholden to them ... because he has transcended his natural instinct and given when not beholden


Apart from this the Rebbe told a CNN reporter in '91, as a message to the world, “Moshiach is ready to come now, we all must only do something additional in the realm of goodness and kindness.”

Gifts to other causes, such as funds for sensible and proper management of the environment, are within the category of the obligation for "yishuv olom" - establishing a healthy and properly functioning natural and societal environment for human beings in the world (the "olom"), because this helps to fulfill G-d's desire for mankind.
Last evening, after my Company meeting, I top-up my train fare. Then as I was at the station gate I realised I had lost my fare card. I was quite upset - there go my 3 weeks transportation fare.

But when I read the forum posting on the Charity by Noahides, I was delighted and comforted. In an unusal and unique way someone might need the transportation fare and find my ticket. I feel happy that I am doing my charity to a stranger indeed.

Shalom !

Rebekah Giam
Director Michael Wrote:In your case, it is probably better to provide him directly with these things, instead of giving him cash, which he could then spend unwisely on other, non-essential things, so he would end up coming back again soon for more money.
If a homeless person says that he or she is hungry and I give them some cash to buy food, and they use the money for something that is not so good that could hurt them or others, would I be responsible for those things that they do? I wouldn't give cash to to anyone I would highly suspect of doing such things, and I'm not saying that this happened, but just in case I did, should I repent for giving cash without being 100% certain that it was used properly?

May one donate Torah books, holy books, to secular institutions such as libraries?
(It would of course not be known if the books would be treated with the proper reverence.)

and thank you.
If you want to give away such a book, it should be donated to an Orthodox institution such as a synagogue, yeshiva, or other Jewish center. Or it could be given as a gift to a Jew (or to a Noahide if it is appropriate) who will benefit from it and/or have the proper appreciation of it as a holy book.
Here is the answer I received from Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem, author of The Divine Code, on the details of the Noahide Code:

This would not be your fault. But if your reasonable assumption is that the person will not use the money in the correct way, then you should not give him cash. If your presumption is not so, then you are giving charity to help a person. It is his own wrong if he uses it for doing harm or evil. Obviously once you know that will happen, you should stop assisting this person with cash. A Noahide should not assist another person to damage himself.
I was approached by someone asking for money for charitable reasons. After I agreed to give some money, I noticed on the card the person gave me with the information that they were from a religious institution of an idolatrous nature. The person didn't mention anything religious at all and I only gave money with the intention that it would be used for the non-religious activities that the person mentioned. Is there anything that would need to be repented for? If I'm in a situation like this next time, would it be better if I don't give any money?
Daniel2 Wrote:... I only gave money with the intention that it would be used for the non-religious activities that the person mentioned.

If you are concerned that part of your donation is likely to be used to fund idolatrous activities, including perhaps missionizing, you could make a stop-payment order to your bank if you wrote a check or gave a credit card number, and the funds were not yet transferred. Of course you would be charged a bank fee for that service, and you would still be obligated to give that amount of funds to a proper charity (preferably one that is also providing needed help to that group of people). Another option would be to fax a letter to the institution, telling them you made the donation (amount, date, check number, etc.), and instructing them as to what non-religious activities you want that money to be used for. Alternatively, you could just rely on the fact that you acted based on what you were told, and if a part of the funds gets used for other purposes, you wouldn't be judged as accountable because you were deceived.

Daniel2 Wrote:Is there anything that would need to be repented for?

I would say no, since you weren't aware of all the facts at the time you made the donation with the right intention. But you could resolve to be more careful about this from now on.

Daniel2 Wrote:If I'm in a situation like this next time, would it be better if I don't give any money?

It would be better if you would first ask for information about the organization that the requested donation would be going to, so you can make an informed decision. Or ask for some printed information or a web site address that you'll look over on your own at home, and decide then about how much you'll give.

As regards giving charity to secular organizations, I would just like to warn all Noahides against giving to organizations that organize annual idolatrous celebrations in the winter season, thus negatively affecting kids during the formative period of their lives when they are especially prone to outside influences. Donating to such organizations is tantamount to supporting idolatry. As mentioned by Director Michael, the Red Cross, for instance, is an appropriate charitable institution. In addition, there are many organizations where your donation will be put to proper use, such as Ask Noah (for Torah-based Noahide education and outreach), and Colel Chabad (which provides assistance for the basic living needs of needy Jews in Israel). And there are hundreds of other appropriate organizations all over the world that provide assistance for people in need.

G-d bless you all,


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