Rambam, Laws of Gifts to the Poor, 10:1
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רמב"ם הלכות מתנות עניים פרק י הלכה א
חייבין אנו להזהר במצות צדקה יותר מכל מצות עשה, שהצדקה סימן לצדיק זרע אברהם אבינו שנאמר כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו לעשות צדקה, ואין כסא ישראל מתכונן ודת האמת עומדת אלא בצדקה שנאמר בצדקה תכונני, ואין ישראל נגאלין אלא בצדקה שנאמר ציון במשפט תפדה ושביה בצדקה
We are obligated to be more careful in fulfilling the commandment of tzedakah than any other commandment, because tzedakah is the sign of the righteous person (tzaddik), the seed of Abraham, our father, as it is said: “I have known him so that he will command his children after him to do tzedakah.” (Genesis 18:19) The throne of Israel will not be established, nor will the true faith stand, except through tzedakah, as it is said, “In tzedakah shall you be established.” (Isaiah 54:14) Israel will be redeemed only through tzedakah as it is written, “Zion shall be redeemed with justice and those who return to her through tzedakah.” (ibid. 1:27) [Translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. According to the Rambam, what is tzedakah?

2. Why is tzedakah necessary for the throne to be established and for Israel to be redeemed? What do these two events signify?

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Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)