Tzedakah, more than giving
Updated: Jan 3, 2020
''But give as tzedakah those things which are within,
and behold, all things will be clean to you.
Luke 11:41 (NJV Bible)
Often tzedakah is understood as charitable giving, but there's more to it. Tzedakah (Hebrew: צדקה) is a Hebrew word meaning ''righteousness'' or ''justice''. It comes from the Hebrew root tzadik (Hebrew: צדק). A tzadik is a righteous person, one who pursues justice and righteousness. Unlike the modern Western understanding of charity, tzedakah is an ethical obligation.
Justice and righteousness cannot be bought, they can only be pursued. Yeshua teaches us in the Gospel of Matthew that we should pursue them before God and not for our own gain:
“Be careful that you do not do your tzedakah before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matthew-Mattityahu 6:1
In the time of Yeshua, there were people who thought they could buy themselves into the Kingdom of God. They didn't do tzedakah from a pure heart, dedicated to God, but from a corrupt state of mind to be seen by people:
“Therefore when you do tzedakah, do not sound a trumpet before yourself as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Amen, I tell you, they have received their reward. Matthew-Mattityahu 6:2
Yeshua is crystal clear when it comes to those who thought they could purchase the Kingdom of God. He calls them hypocrites because they strive for their own honor and they don't seek God with right intentions. They have already received their reward in this world, the honor of others.
“But when you do tzedakah, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, so that your tzedakah may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew-Mattityahu 6:3-4
When we choose to do tzedakah it should never be to impress other people or because it will gain us something in this world. When Yeshua says ''do not let your left hand know what your right hand does'' he does not mean we cannot do tzedakah in public, only when we do so we do it because of a pure heart that is wholeheartedly dedicated to God. We learn from the words of King Messiah that tzedakah is more than a single act of righteousness or justice, it's a lifestyle that can only be pursued by a tzaddik. Therefore:
“Do not lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew-Mattityahu 6:19-21
Live each day in expectancy of the coming of Messiah, walk by faith and live as a tzadik.
May the King come soon.