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January 11, 2005

Rambam's Ladder


Maimonides, whose epigram, "He who saves one life, saves the world," appears from time to time here in various contexts, is often referred to by the acronym Rambam (for Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon).

Almost 1,000 years ago he created a descending eight-step scale for evaluating the worthiness of a charitable act.

The top rung belonged to those who make a poor person self-sufficient; the lowest level to "he who gives with a frowning countenance," the reluctant giver.

Up in the exalted range, at the second-highest level, stood the anonymous giver, the person expecting nothing in return, not even recognition.

Julie Salamon wrote a highly-acclaimed book, "Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give."

[via Julie Salamon and the New York Times]

January 11, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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