My Jewish Learning

Tzedakah Quiz

Tzedakah, or righteousness, is often interpreted as charity, because Judaism views giving as the ultimate act of righteousness. As in most areas of life, here too Jewish tradition makes practical demands and specifies expectations. How much do you know about Tzedakah?

Question 1. What does the Hebrew word “tzedakah” mean literally?


Question 2. According to the Talmud, which of the following is not a difference between charity and benevolence?
 Charity can only be carried out by giving money, whereas benevolence involves giving of one’s person
 Charity is directed to the poor, whereas benevolence involves the expression of goodwill to all
 Charity is given to the living, whereas benevolence can be extended to the dead
 Charity is not required of those who are less fortunate, whereas benevolence is required of everyone


Question 3. The rabbis of classical Judaism said tzedakah is
 Less important than other mitzvot
 Just as important as any other one mitzvah
 Equal in value to all other mitzvot combined
 Not important if you don't know any other mitzvot


Question 4. According to the Mishnah, how much of one’s fields must one leave unharvested for the needy?
 There is no set amount


Question 5. In the Bible, commandments regarding assistance for the poor are modeled after which of these?
 A mother’s behavior towards her child
 A king’s behavior towards his subjects
 A prophet’s behavior towards the people he is leading
 God’s behavior towards the People of Israel


Question 6. According to Jewish law, how much tzedakah must one give?
 25% of one's income
 3% of one's income
 However much money will feed a family for a week
 There are no set requirements, just guidelines


Question 7. According to Maimonides' Ladder of Tzedakah, what is the lowest level of giving charity?
 One who gives anonymously
 One who gives less than what is fitting
 One who gives unwillingly
 One who gives before the poor asks for it


Question 8. What does a Jewish community traditionally have to provide for someone who becomes impoverished?
 Just enough to keep food on her table, clothes on her back, and a roof over her head
 Food, clothing, shelter, and education
 Whatever she was accustomed to before she became impoverished
 The average salary for someone in their city or town


Question 9. According to Jewish law, which of these organizations should you be giving money to first?
 An independent local recycling plant
 A local food pantry
 A fund for disaster relief in China
 A hospital in Israel


Question 10. How does the Talmud respond to someone who says, “I give this coin to the poor so that my sick child may recover?”
 There is nothing wrong with this, even if it’s not the ideal
 This person is worse than a thief
 This person is giving charity at the highest level
 What this person gives cannot be considered charity