6 Then Raphael called the two of them privately and said to them, "Bless God and acknowledge him in the presence of all the living for the good things he has done for you. Bless and sing praise to his name. With fitting honor declare to all people the deeds of God. Do not be slow to acknowledge him. 7 It is good to conceal the secret of a king, but to acknowledge and reveal the works of God, and with fitting honor to acknowledge him. Do good and evil will not overtake you. 8 Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. 9 For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, 10 but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies.
Bava Batra 10aBabylonian Talmud
It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: Great is charity in that it advances the redemption, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, uphold justice and do charity, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). He would say: Ten strong entities were created in the world, one stronger than the other. A mountain is strong, but iron, which is stronger, cleaves it. Iron is strong, but fire melts it. Fire is strong, but water extinguishes it. Water is strong, but clouds bear it. Clouds are strong, but wind disperses them. Wind is strong, but the human body withstands it. The human body is strong, but fear breaks it. Fear is strong, but wine dispels it. Wine is strong, but sleep drives it off. And death is stronger than them all, but charity saves a person from death, as it is written: “And charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2, 11:4).
Notes and References
"... Johanan and Joshua’s conversation in AdRNB 8 indicates that, in later rabbinic literature, Hos 6:6 did later come to be interpreted as a text that offers atonement through דסח (chesed) apart from the sacrificial cult. But what of earlier rabbinic literature? Although the concept of meritorious almsgiving is well represented in later Palestinian Amoraic sources (y. Pe’ah 1:1, 15b; y. Shab. 6:10, 8; Lev. Rab. 34:7- 8; cf. Gen. Rab. 44:12; b. Bava Batra 9b; 10a; 11a; b. Suk. 49b), perhaps only three texts from the Tannaitic literature emphasize the meritorious and/or atoning nature of care for the poor. It is not necessary here to entertain the complicated question of whether and to what extent later rabbinic texts may preserve earlier historical traditions.9 The point to be made by looking at early rabbinic texts is that, while the Tannaitic literature does occasionally endorse the meritorious or atoning nature of almsgiving, never in Tannaitic sources is this position advanced with reference to the so-called prophetic critique of sacrifice ..."
Downs, David J. Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity (pp. 83-101) Baylor University Press, 2016
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