This week’s trait, Tiferet, is primarily about compassion: the balance between the expansive lovingkindness of chesed and the contracting discipline/judgment of gevurah.
Today we look at the gevurah aspect of tiferet. Gevurah is about applying judgment. Compassion is not necessarily “blind” or equal to everyone. Rambam teaches that there are different levels of giving, and different priorities in charity. You take care of your family first; people in your town first, then your country, etc. In terms of levels of giving, the highest is giving someone a job so he/she can support himself. The lowest is giving an inadequate amount grudgingly, but even that is still “on the ladder” and you get some credit for it.
Do you apply appropriate judgement in your compassion? It could be that sometimes what the person needs isn’t what the person is asking for. If you give substantial amounts to organizations, do you verify how much of the donations go to administrative expenses versus what goes to actually helping people? Do you take time to understand which are the most important and effective places for you to give your time and money?
Back to Day 15