"We spend a lot of time thinking about why people are bad. Just as perplexing, maybe more perplexing, is why they are good."Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give ~ by Julie Salamon, 2003, philosophy
I bought this book a couple of years ago, at a book sale, but I'm just now getting around to reading it. I find it fascinating that the page opposite the first page of the Introduction, which has the sentences I quoted at the top of this post, has "The Ladder of Charity" with a list of the eight rungs with 1/Reluctance at the bottom of the page, like the first rung of a ladder. Each chapter goes up a rung, as if the reader is climbing up the ladder to 8/Responsibility.
Nearly a thousand years ago the great philosopher and physician Maimonides, known to Hebrew scholars as Rambam, pondered the question of righteousness. Out of it came the Ladder of Charity. In eight chapters, one for each rung, the book helps us navigate the world of giving. How much to give? How do we know if our gifts are being used wisely? Is it better to give anony-mously? The book reminds us on every page we are measured not by what we have, but by what we give.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
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