This week some of us celebrated Purim, a holiday that reaffirms the power of the Light to overcome the forces of darkness or evil in the world. And our greatest tool for channeling that Light? The act of giving! In fact, that power is so potent during this time, we can literally intercept those negative forces and block their ability to manifest. But how do we know that our giving will make a real difference? And how do we decide where and how to give of ourselves to best elevate ourselves and the world?
Way back in the 12th century, Rabbi Maimonides outlined the "levels of Tzedakah," also known as The Ladder of Giving. His ideas are as relevant today as they were back then (talk about being ahead of your time!). Keep in mind, though, that giving isn't just about money. We can give of our time. Our energy. Even our spirit. Sometimes the greatest gifts can't be seen… such as a smile, a pat on the back, or a word of encouragement in a time of need. So how might one define what determines a higher versus a lower type of giving?