Tehillim / Psalms 112, ספר תהילים קיב, Part 2, Tzedakah, Morality, Ethics, and Justice according to the Psalms
In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 112:1-10, This kind of man the Psalmist says, 112:5 ד זָרַח בַּחשֶׁךְ אוֹר לַיְשָׁרִים חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם וְצַדִּיק: ה טוֹב אִישׁ חוֹנֵן וּמַלְוֶה יְכַלְכֵּל דְּבָרָיו בְּמִשְׁפָּט: It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment. 112:6 For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. (NASB) The idea is that the one who does charity (Tzedakah) which is derived from the Hebrew text meaning righteousness, fairness or justice. The psalm brings this into context saying, ז מִשְּׁמוּעָה רָעָה לֹא יִירָא נָכוֹן לִבּוֹ בָּטֻחַ בַּיהוָֹה: ח סָמוּךְ לִבּוֹ לֹא יִירָא עַד אֲשֶׁר-יִרְאֶה בְצָרָיו: 112:7 He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 112:8 His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries. 112:9 He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor. (NASB) The psalm concludes saying, י רָשָׁע יִרְאֶה | וְכָעָס שִׁנָּיו יַחֲרקֹ וְנָמָס תַּאֲוַת רְשָׁעִים תּאֹבֵד: 112:10 The wicked will see it and be vexed, He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked will perish. (NASB) In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous act; it is simply an act of justice, the performance of a duty, helping the poor. It is the right thing to do. The wicked are vexed because they do not understand such generosity.