Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 8:3
רמב"ם הלכות מתנות עניים פרק ח:ג
הנודר צדקה ולא ידע כמה נדר יתן עד שיאמר לא לכך נתכוונתי.
You are commanded to give the poor person according to the poor person’s needs. If the poor has no clothing, the poor should be clothed. If the poor has no household furnishings, these should be bought for the poor. …As it is stated in Scripture, “You must open your hand and lend the poor sufficient for whatever they need.” (Deuteronomy 15:8.) You are thus obligated to support the person’s needs; you are not, however, obligated to make the person wealthy. [Translation by Hillel. Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How does this text define a need? What does it mean to “lend the poor sufficient for whatever they need”?

2. How is “wealth” defined? According to the text, who defines need/wealth?

3. Do you agree with the Rambam that needs are subjective? What are the limits of this text?

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