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The Meaning of the Word “Tzedakah” is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call “charity” in English:  giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy  causes. However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of  charity. The word “charity” suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous  act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy. The word  “tzedakah” is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism,  giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply  an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor  their due.