Counting the Omer Day 19: Hod of Tiferet

Hod of TiferetHod of Tiferet. Humility of Compassion.

People involved in the non-profit world know that it’s much easier to raise money for buildings than for operating expenses. Wealthy people often love to put their name on tangible objects. They express compassion by giving money to build a new wing in a hospital, but it’s not humble to put your name on the building.

It’s not a terrible thing; the world is still made better by the new wing in the hospital. But Rambam teaches it’s greater to give anonymously. According to his eight levels of charity, the highest level is helping someone avoid becoming impoverished, helping them to take care of themselves. The second highest level is when neither the donor nor the recipient know each other. This is a level with humility – the donation is not made to “show off.” If the donor knows who he is giving to, regardless of whether the recipient knows who the donor is, he may feel “superior,” or pity the other person. If the recipient knows who the donor is, regardless of whether the donor knows who the recipient is, he may feel a burden of being in someone’s debt.

One should not allow the fact that one is able to give money to others to allow one to feel superior. The Talmud teaches that nothing stays the same; the one who is rich today may be poor tomorrow and the one who is poor today may be rich tomorrow. If God has been generous to you, being compassionate and giving to others is simply doing what you were put here to do. Haughtiness in giving is unseemly.


Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

4 thoughts on “Counting the Omer Day 19: Hod of Tiferet

  • I know a woman philanthropist is exemplifies Hod b’Tiferet. She quietly, modestly has supported a single mother of 5 children who are survivors of domestic violence. The mother is not a legal citizen in the US and works hard, but it is hard to find work. She can’t leave the US because the younger kids are citizens.

    • Rav Barry

      Wonderful story!


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