Page:Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book.djvu/33

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xiii
The Morning Benedictions.

the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee." There is thus no fixed measure as to the amount of the gift, and in these days, when the Synagogue has replaced the Temple, there are many authorities who urge the Israelite to display towards the Synagogue the same generosity as was once shown in the Temple.

The practice of charity (גְמִילוּת חֲסִדִים) implies much more than almsgiving; the Hebrew term used means loving-kindness, and it includes personal service and affectionate sympathy to all men as well as the bestowal of alms on the needy (T. B. Succah 49 b). To such charity (i.e. love) there is no fixed limit.

And the study of the Law (תַּלְמוּד תּוֺרָה). To this duty there is also no limit fixed. "This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein" (Joshua i. 8).

Page 5. We have next various categories of things, the fruits of which a man enjoys in this world, while the stock remains for him for the world to come. Maimonides, in his commentary on this passage from the Mishnah, points out that there are two classes of religious duties: (a) those acts which concern only the doer in his personal relation to God, and (b) those acts which concern also the welfare of other men. It is class (b) that is referred to here: acts which affect the well-being of society. The doer of these acts is obeying the will of God, and thus the stock or principal remains to him for the world to come. But at the same time the doer enjoys the fruits of these acts in this world, for he participates on earth in the advantages which accrue from that ameliorated state of social life which honouring father and mother and the practice of charity and the rest of the acts enumerated must produce. In the case of most of these duties,