Through Kabbalah we discover that giving to others is much more than a nice idea. The selfless sharing of one’s wealth, time, and talent is actually a great spiritual tool with the power to change lives.
According to the Zohar, the sacred text of Kabbalah, there are three distinct levels of giving, each with its own spiritual benefit. Our purpose in this lifetime is to transform our own desire to receive into a beneficent force for sharing with others. In doing so, we become like the Creator, bringing Light to the entire world.
LEVELS OF GIVING:
Community Giving refers to the act of sharing with the people within your physical environment. The kabbalists teach that prior to the revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, Moses asked his people to accept responsibility for the well-being of one another. It was only when they were united in their shared commitment to reciprocal responsibility that miracles could occur. Learning to accept responsibility for our friends, family, community, and for the wider world is the most essential and, perhaps ironically, the most rewarding of all the lessons of Kabbalah. By contributing to the sustenance of others’ lives we earn greater abundance for our own.
Tithing is the act of sharing 10% of one’s income. The word “tithe” comes from the Hebrew word Eser which means “ten.” Kabbalists explain that giving away 10% of our earnings removes any limitation that might block the flow of blessings into our lives. The foundation of tithing is based on the kabbalistic principle that reality is divided into ten levels of energy. The lowest level, called Malchut, is our physical reality. Its characteristics are that of limitation and finiteness. Kabbalah explains that giving away 10% of our physical wealth can remove the limitation from our money, allowing us to be greater channels for sharing and sustenance.
Tzedaka is sharing beyond tithing—more than 10% of our income. This is the most powerful form of charity one can give. The Zohar tells us that if enough people engage in tzedaka, it will lead to the removal of chaos and bring peace and prosperity to our lives. The kabbalists teach that “charity saves from death”. How? By sharing beyond what is expected of us, we have the potential to nullify any negative cosmic decree we may unknowingly face. We also help to build a more peaceful and just world for others and, in so doing, creates an opening for miracles to come into our lives.