Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

Gemeilut chesed/chasadim

Literally:Giving goodness
Idiomatically: Deeds of kindness

One of the three pillars of Judaism is Gemilut Chasadim (Avot 1:2) or doing good for others. Gamal is a often used as to recompense but it can also mean a reward or something thatís given ( Psalms 94:2). As an aside, it can even mean reciprocity as in Yachasei Gomlim.

So what is the difference between charity (tzedaka and acts of kindness ( Gemilut chasadim)? The Talmud states ( Sucah 49:b) that gemilut chasadim is more important than tzedakah for three reasons: charity is only financial while kindness is both financial and physical ( assistance), Charity is given only to the poor, while gemilut hasadim can be granted to the rich and poor, and finally charity is only for the living, while gemilut hasadim can be for both living or deceased (by attending a funeral service etc).

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