Maimonides, recognized as one of the most famous doctors of all time, was appointed as personal physicians to the king and royal family in Egypt.
Maimonides was a 12th century Jewish scholar and physician. Maimonides wrote a code of Jewish law, the Mishnah Torah.
Maimonides lists 8 different levels of Tzedakah (charity) level one being the most honorable. (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:7).
1. The highest form of charity is when someone helps sustain a person before they become impoverished, or by helping them establish themselves in business so as to make the person become self-supporting.
2. If the donor and recipient are unknown to each other.
3. If the donor is aware of the recipient’s identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
4. If the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor does not know the identity of the recipient.
5. If one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
6. If one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
7. If one gives less than he should, but does so gladly.
8. If donations are given halfheartedly.
The Hebrew word “Tzedakah” is commonly translated as “charity”, “tithe”, or “donations”, but this is misleading. “Charity” implies that your heart motivates you to go beyond the call of duty. “Tzedakah,” however, literally means “righteousness” — doing the right thing. A “Tzaddik,” likewise, is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether he feels in the mood for it or not.
The Bible says: “Tzedek, tzedek you shall pursue” — justice justice you shall pursue (Deut. 16:20). There is a basic human responsibility to reach out to others, including non Jews.
The Bible recommends giving 10 percent. Deut. 14:22. Ten percent is a trust fund, an account that G-d entrusts you with, which you’re personally responsible to disperse. G-d is expecting you to spend his money wisely.
Ten percent is the minimum obligation to help. For those who want to do more, the Bible allows you to give 20 percent. However above that amount is unrealistic. If you give too much, you’ll come to neglect other aspects of your life.