Everyone is obliged to contribute to charity. Even a poor man who is himself [partly] maintained by Charity should give a portion of what he receives. If one would give less than his due, the Court used to bring pressure to bear and punish him for contempt of court until he would give the amount assessed; and if he persisted in his refusal, they would seize his goods to that amount [in his presence].
A pledge may be taken as security for the Charity tax even on Friday afternoon.2When the delinquent can plead for delay on the ground that he is occupied with preparations for the Sabbath.
Orphans are not assessed even for ransoming captives (not even wealthy orphans) unless the assessment is made for their glory, to maintain their reputation.
Gabbaïm,3The term Gabbai (pl. Gabbaïm) means “collector,” but since the collector was usually also the “charities manager,” the same word is used for both. in collecting charity, should accept only small values from women, slaves, or children, because in case of valuables we fear they were obtained by theft or robbery. As to what is to be considered of small value, that depends upon the wealth or poverty of the master. This applies to cases in general; but where the master objects, Gabbaïm are forbidden to receive anything from them.
If the wife engages a teacher for her son and the husband is aware of it and is silent, we assume he is pleased with it; but if he objects immediately upon hearing of it, her transaction is nullified (even though she manage affairs in the house).
A son who eats at his father's table, or a servant who eats at his master's table, may give a piece of bread to a pauper or to a friend's child without fear of being accused of robbery; for such is the way of householders.
A well-to-do man who gives more than his share to Charity, or who straitens himself to pay the collector in order not to be embarrassed,—from such a man it is forbidden to demand or claim his dues; and the Gabbai who humiliates him by asking for it, will be called to account in the future by the Holy One, blessed be He.
He who wishes to be deserving of divine reward, shall conquer his evil inclinations and open wide his hand, and everything [done or given] in the name of Heaven shall be of the best and the finest. If he build a house of worship, let it be more beautiful than his dwelling; if he feed a hungry one, let him give him to eat of the best and the sweetest on his table; if he clothe one naked, let him clothe him with one of his finest garments; if he consecrate anything, let him consecrate from the best of his property; and so, too, the Bible says: "All the fat is Jehovah's."1Levit. 3:16.