GEMILUS CHASADIM (ACTS OF KINDNESS) (Yerushalmi Peah Halachah 1 Daf 2b)



Gemilus Chasadim - There is no minimum quantity (in order to fulfil them) when using one's body, but using one's money, there is a minimum quantity.



This follows R. Shimon ben Lakish citing R. Yosi ben Chaninah who said that in Usha they agree that a person may give until 1/5th of his wealth to charity.


Question: What is the minimum quantity?



R. Gamliel ben Ininua and R. Aba bar Kahana disagreed - one said that one must minimally give the amount of Terumah (usually 1/50th) as well as Terumas Maaser (1/100th, totalling 3/100th).

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The other one said - the pasuk states (Mishlei 3:9), "Honor Hash-m with your wealth, and from the first of all your grain" - meaning like the amount of Terumah (1/50th).

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Question (R. Gamliel ben Ininua to R. Mana): If he gives 1/5th of his wealth each year, in five years he will have nothing left?!



Answer (R. Mana): The first year he gives 1/5th of the principal; thereafter, he gives 1/5th of the earnings.


(Rav Huna): He must give up to 1/3rd for a Mitzvah...


Question: Does this mean for all of the Mitzvos or for any Mitzvah?


Suggestion (Yeshiva students): For all of the Mitzvos.

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(R. Avun): Even for one Mitzvah.

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(R. Chaviva citing Rabbanan of Bavel): It does not mean 1/3rd of his property; rather, it means to add a 1/3rd to the current value of the Mitzvah item. How is this done? If a person bought an item for a Mitzvah and then found a nicer one, how much should he be prepared to add to the value of the original item in order to buy the nicer one? 1/3rd of the value of the original item.

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(Beraisa) (R. Yishmael): The pasuk states (Shemos 15:2), "This is my God and I will beautify Him {literally: make for him a dwelling}" - is it possible for a person to beautify his Creator?! Rather, I will make beautiful before Him His Mitzvos - for example, I will have a beautiful Lulav, Succah, Shofar, Tzitzis and Tefillin.

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(Abba Shaul): I will be like Him - just as He is merciful and graceful, so you should be merciful and graceful.



It once happened, that R. Yeshavev distributed all of his property to the poor. Rabban Gamliel sent him a message, asking, "Didn't the Sages say that (only) 1/5th of one's property should go to Mitzvos?"



Question: Didn't Rabban Gamliel precede Usha (see (b) above)?

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Answer (R. Yosi b'R. Bun citing R. Levi): They used to have this Halacha in their hands but they forgot it and the later Sages (Usha) arose and agreed with the earlier Sages. This teaches that anything for which the Beis Din toil to clarify will be established like Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai (an oral tradition from Sinai).



This follows R. Mana, who said - the pasuk states (Devarim 32:47), "Because it is not an empty thing for you" - and if it is an empty thing, it must have come from you. Why? Because you are not sufficiently toiling in Torah. "Because it is your life" - when is it your life? When you toil in it.

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(R. Tanchuma citing Rav Huna): The pasuk states (Shemos 38:22), "Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda, had made all that Hash-m had commanded Moshe." It does not say, "all that Moshe commanded him" - this teaches that Betzalel fulfilled even parts of the oral tradition that he was not informed of by his teacher, Moshe.

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(R. Yochanan citing R. Banayei): The pasuk states (Yehoshua 11:15), "As Hash-m commanded Moses His servant, so did Moses command Yehoshua, and so did Yehoshua; he left nothing undone of all that Hash-m commanded Moses." It does not say, "all that Moshe commanded him" - this teaches that Betzalel fulfilled even parts of the oral tradition that he was not informed of by his teacher, Moshe.

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(R. Yochanan citing R. Banayei/ R. Chuna citing Rebbi): The pasuk states (Malachi 2:6), "True teaching was in his mouth" - things that he heard from his teacher; "and injustice was not found on his lips" - even things that he did not hear from his teacher.

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(Rabbanan): The pasuk states (Mishlei 3:26), "As Hash-m will be your trust {alternatively: in your lack of knowledge; or it can be translated as 'your pocket' (see below)} and He shall keep your foot from being caught" - even from things that you did not know, Hash-m shall keep your foot from being caught - meaning that Hash-m will teach them to you if you toil in Torah.


(R. Dosa): It means that Hash-m will protect you that you will not stumble in a Halachic ruling.


(Rabbanan): He will protect you from sin.



(R. Levi): He will protect you from evil spirits.



(R. Abba): If you gave of your pocket to charity, Hash-m will guard you from different types of taxes, damages and expenses, head tax and giving a tithe of one's animals to the king.


King Mumbaz gave all of his money to the poor. His relatives sent him a message, saying, "Your fathers added to theirs and their fathers' wealth and you are wasting yours and your fathers' wealth!"

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(King Mumbaz): My treasure houses are better than theirs! My fathers hid under the ground and I hid in the heavens, as the pasuk states (Tehillim 85:12), "Truth will grow from the earth and righteousness will look down from the heavens". My fathers hid away treasures that do not produce fruit; I hid away treasures that produce fruit, as the pasuk states (Yeshayahu 3:10), "Praise the righteous man for he is good, for the fruit of their deeds they shall eat."

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My fathers hid away in a place that the hand can reach; I hid away where the hand cannot reach, as the pasuk states (Tehillim 97:2), "righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne etc." My fathers hid away money and I hid away souls, as the pasuk states (Mishlei 11:30), "and the wise man acquires souls".

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My fathers hid away for others and I hid away for myself, as the pasuk states (Devarim 24:13), "And to you will be righteousness (charity)". My fathers hid away for this world and I hid away for the world to come, as the pasuk states (Mishlei 10:2), "And charity will save from death". And when a person gives charity, will he never die? It means that he will not die in the world to come.


Charity and acts of kindness are equal to all of the Torah's Mitzvos. Charity can be given to the living, but acts of kindness can be done even for the dead (such as through burial); charity can be given to the poor, but acts of kindness can be done even to the rich; charity is done with one's money, but acts of kindness can be done even with one's body.

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(R. Yochanan bar Marya citing R. Yochanan): We would not have known whether charity or acts of kindness are more beloved; but when the pasuk states (Tehillim 103:17), "but Hash-m's kindness is from everlasting to everlasting, and His charity to sons of sons", this shows that acts of kindness are more beloved than charity.