The Rambam lists 8 levels of giving charity, saying one is better than the next. I am assuming that there is some greater advantage to performing this mitzvah on a "higher" level, an idea which I will call "reward" even without knowing exactly what that reward is.

In a hypothetical case, I give without knowing to whom I gave and the recipient does not know me. In a year, the middle man who effected the transfer of charity introduces us and says "Hey Fred, this is the guy who donated that car to you." Does that middle man's statement "lower" the level of my donation and the resultant "reward" or is this only about my knowledge at the moment of donation?

What if I know that a person is of a group that will receive from my donation but I don't know if that specific person will receive my specific donation from among a pooled group? Would a shul dinner celebrating donors by name, with testimonials by named recipients be lowering the reward value?

Can I seek out, at any point, knowledge of who the recipient is after some sort of statute of limitations runs out (there is actually a practical case based on this possibility, but not a currently real case)? Or will my looking and/or finding out somehow compromise the "reward" even well after the fact?

1 Answer 1


Apparently the reason for the levels in charity are that the less you expect to receive remuneration for your charitable act the more this is a true chesed shel emes - kindness of truth.

So if you deliberately "cashed in" on your charitable act later, that would reduce the level of the kindness. But if the recipient was introduced to you, the benefactor, later, without you having intended that to happen, this has no effect on the act of kindness.

In the case where you know which group you are donating to and not the individual, then it depends. If you intend to be esteemed by the group, this is a lower level. If not, then it is the higher level.

In the case of getting your name on a plaque, it seems that this must be the lower level, unless you have meritorious intentions in having your name there, such as that your children should learn from you to give charity.


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