If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand from your needy brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking. Beware, lest there be in your heart an unfaithful thought, saying, "The seventh year, the year of release has approached," and you will begrudge your needy brother and not give him, and he will cry out to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin to you. You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him; for because of this thing the Lord, your God, will bless you in all your work and in all your endeavors. For there will never cease to be needy within the land. Therefore, I command you, saying, you shall surely open your hand to your brother, to your poor one, and to your needy one in your land.
"Why have we fasted, and You did not see; we have afflicted our soul and You do not know?" Behold, on the day of your fast you pursue business, and [from] all your debtors you exact [payment]. Behold, for quarrel and strife you fast, and to strike with a fist of wickedness. Do not fast like this day, to make your voice heard on high.Will such be the fast I will choose, a day of man's afflicting his soul? Is it to bend his head like a fishhook and spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is this not the fast I will choose? To undo the fetters of wickedness, to untie the bands of perverseness, and to let out the oppressed free, and all perverseness you shall eliminate. Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and moaning poor you shall bring home; when you see a naked one, you shall clothe him, and from your flesh you shall not hide. Then your light shall break forth as the dawn, and your healing shall quickly sprout, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall gather you in.
R. Joshua b. Levi said: He who does charity habitually will have sons wise, wealthy, and versed in the Aggadah. 'Wise' as it is written, He shall find life; 'wealthy' as it is written, [He shall find] righteousness; 'versed in the Aggadah' as it is written, And [he shall find] honor: and it is written elsewhere, The wise shall inherit honour.
It has been taught: R. Meir used to say: The critic [of Judaism] may bring against you the argument, 'If your God loves the poor, why does he not support them?' If so, answer him, 'So that through them we may be saved from the punishment of Gehinnom.'
This question was actually put by Turnus Rufus to R. Akiba: 'If your God loves the poor, why does He not support them?' He replied, 'So that we may be saved through them from the punishment of Gehinnom.' 'On the contrary,' said the other, 'it is this which condemns you to Gehinnom. I will illustrate by a parable. Suppose an earthly king was angry with his servant and put him in prison and ordered that he should be given no food or drink, and a man went and gave him food and drink. If the king heard, would he not be angry with him? And you are called "servants", as it is written, 'For unto me the children of Israel are servants.' R. Akiba answered him: 'I will illustrate by another parable. Suppose an earthly king was angry with his son, and put him in prison and ordered that no food or drink should be given to him, and someone went and gave him food and drink. If the king heard of it, would he not send him a present? And we are called "sons", as it is written, 'Sons are ye to the Lord your God.' He said to him: 'You are called both sons and servants. When you carry out the desires of the Omnipresent you are called "sons", and when you do not carry out the desires of the Omnipresent, you are called "servants". At the present time you are not carrying out the desires of the Omnipresent. R. Akiba replied: 'The Scripture says, Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house. When "dost thou bring the poor who are cast out to thy house"? Now; and it says [at the same time], Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?'
Commentary on Avot 1:6- Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenurah
והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות - כשהדבר בכף מאזנים ואין לו הכרע לכאן ולכאן. כגון אדם שאין אנו יודעים ממעשיו אם צדיק אםרשע ועשה מעשה שאפשר לדונו לזכות ואפשר לדונו לחובה, מדת חסידות היא לדונו לכף זכות. אבל אדם שהוחזק ברשע, מותר לדונו לחובה,שלא אמרו אלא החושד בכשרים לוקה בגופו [שבת צ"ז א], מכלל שהחושד ברשעים אינו לוקה:
שאין מכירין אותו- אם הוא באמת עני ושמא הוא רמאי:
אין בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא- דכיון שמצטער מרעב אם ימתין עד שיבדקו אחריו לכן אין ממתינין ומאכילין אותו מיד:
שמא רמאי הוא- ואם ידוע שהוא רמאי פשיטא שאין נותנין לו כלל:...
הי' ערום- לאו ערום ממש דאז פשיטא שמכסין אותו מיד ואין בודקין אחריו שהרי מצטער מחמת הצינה וגם מבוזה ... אלא דמיירי הכא שאינו מכוסהלפי כבודו והוא מבוזה בבגדים אלו אבל אין מצטער מצינה:
בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא- דכיון שאין מצטער בגופו יכול הוא להמתין...
מכירין אותו- שאינו רמאי ויודעין בו שהוא עני שבדקוהו כבר:
Whom you do not recognize- if he is truly poor or if he is dishonest
Do not investigate him to determine whether he is dishonest- Because he will be in pain from hunger if he waits until you investigate him, and so you should not delay and should feed him immediately
Whether he is dishonest- But if is known that he is dishonest, it is obvious that he should not be given anything
If he is unclothed- Not literally naked, because then one should obviously clothe him immediately and not investigate, because he is in pain from the cold and is also ashamed... but here we are speaking of not clothing him in accordance with his station, if he is wearing clothing that degrades him but is not pained by the cold
Investigate him to make sure he is not dishonest- Because he is not in physical pain, he can wait
Recognize him- He is known not to be dishonest, because he was investigated previously
Any person who does not need to take [charity] and deceives the people and takes will not reach old age and die until he requires assistance from people at large. He is among those of whom it is said, "Cursed be a person who trusts in mortals."...
And on the eighth day, circumcise-... It occurred that Turnus Rufus the wicked asked Rabbi Akiva, "Which actions are more pleasing, those of G-d or those of man?" He replied, "Those of man are more pleasing." Turnus Rufus said to him, "Can a man make the heavens and earth or things like them?" Rabbi Akiva said, do not speak to me of things that are above creation, which [man] has no control over; rather, speak of things that are found in connection with human beings." He said, "Why do you circumcise?" He responded, "I knew that this is what you were asking about, and that is why I first said that the actions of human beings are more pleasing than those of G-d." Rabbi Akiva brought him ears of grain and cakes and said, "These are the work of G-d and these are the work of man. Are the cakes not more pleasing than the ears of grain?" Turnus Rufus replied, "If he wanted circumcision, why is the baby not born circumcised?" Rabbi Akiva replied... "Because G-d gave the mitzvot to Israel only to refine the people through them, and that is why David says (Psalms 18) 'Every utterance of G-d refines.'"
Mishna: ...These are the things for which a person eats of their fruit in this world and the value endures in the next world: respecting one's father and mother, and acts of kindness, and bringing peace between people, and the study of Torah is equal to them all.
Gemara: ...Merit has both eternal and temporal results; sin has eternal but not temporal results. Merit has both eternal and temporal rewards, as it says, "Praise the righteous man for he is good, for the fruit of their deeds they shall eat." Sin has eternal but not temporal punishment, as it says, "Woe to the wicked [who does] evil, for the recompense of his hands shall be done to him," and so I will fulfill "They will eat the fruit of their way." But every sin that bore fruit has temporal results, and every sin that did not bear fruit has no temporal results.
G-d joins in fulfilling a good intention; G-d does not join in fulfilling a bad intention. G-d joins in fulfilling a good intention, as it says, "Then the G-d-fearing men spoke to one another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it." G-d does not join in fulfilling a bad intention, as it says, "If I saw iniquity in my heart, the Lord does not hear it."