The Jewish ideals of charity were summarized and taught by Moses Maimonides (Rambam), a great teacher who lived in Spain and Egypt. Maimonides believed that Charity is like a ladder. It has eight steps, from bottom to top. Each step you climb brings you closer to heaven.
Maimonides defines eight levels of charity, each one higher than the preceding one.
“Eight levels in giving charity”,
Maimonides defines each level higher than the preceding one, On an ascending level, they are as follows:
8. When donations are given grudgingly.
7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.
6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
4. When the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor does not know the identity of the recipient.
3. When the donor is aware of the recipient’s identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
2. When the donor and recipient are unknown to each other.
1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.