Explain how Tzedaka (giving to charity) shows righteousness in action

Explain how Tzedaka (giving to charity) shows righteousness in action (6 marks)

This is a difficult 6 mark A01 question that is very poorly worded for the amount of marks it offers. My first step would be to try and understand the question slightly differently:

How does giving charity DEMONSTRATE that a person is righteous?
What is it about charity that we can DEFINE those who give it as righteous?

I would then base the answer on the following points:

• Money is usually attained as a result of hard work
• People can choose to spend money on themselves and usually do
• The act of giving one’s hard earned money to another cause is selfless
• Righteousness can be defined by being selfless

We do however need to find a total of 6 marks and the above points might not be enough so I propose the following additional ideas:

• Giving charity demonstrates that the person cares about other people and their welfare as much as themselves – making them righteous
• The Torah encourages righteousness and instructs all Jews to give 10% of their earnings to charity.
• One can give their time to charity as well in place of money
• Someone who doesn’t have that much money and gives to charity is objectively more righteous than someone who has lots of money and gives very little

Sample answer:

Righteousness means acting with good moral values. When people give their money to worthy causes that help others, they are caring for more than just themselves – this is righteous behaviour.

Money is usually earned through hard work and people usually need it to spend on items that they need for sustenance as well as luxury items that make them happy. Using this money to help others less fortunate than themselves is a big statement about their moral values and desire to care for others.

The Torah encourages people to give 10 of their earnings to charity and Yaacov, who we learn righteousness from, gave 10% of everything he earned to charity. It is also possible to give 10% of your time to charity and this is considered to be equally righteous.

In this day and age, it is very hard to earn money and people who have money may not be so willing to just give it away. Caring for others by sacrificing your own money for their cause is a clear demonstration of one’s righteousness and care for people other than themselves.

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