Charity in the Bible (Private-Religious)

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson will familiarize the learners with basic laws of charity (tzedakah) in Biblical literature.  Through laws and stories, students will begin to understand the level of importance that the Bible places on acts of charity (tzedakah), specifically as it relates to farming and giving to the poor. 

PrintTwo to Three - Fifty Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • understand the concepts of ma’aser ani, leket, and peah -acts of charity in farming.
  • read the story of Ruth, and identify the charitable acts of Boaz.
  • identify and understand the non-monetary rewards of giving charity, according to the Bible.
  • Attachment One: Biblical Laws of Tzedakah
  • Attachment Two: Character Qualities
  • Student copies of The Story of Ruth:(A copy may be found at
  • Lined paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Poster board
Home Connection 

The learners will share the Story of Ruth with their families. They will inquire and indentify a family member or family friend (grandparent, great-grandparent or even generations before) that fit(s) the model of a generous giver and compare the qualities of this generous giver with that of Boaz.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask the learners to think of different acts of charity.Write each one of them on the poster board. As the students think of the different examples, ask them to describe the type of person that would give charity in that way.Explain to the students that the Bible highlights different acts of charity, many of them that revolve around farming.


  2. Attachment One: Distribute Biblical Laws of Tzedakah

  3. Read the laws and discuss the Biblical reason behind the law. Why is it necessary to institute laws to help the poor of the community.

  4. Obtain copies ofThe Story of Ruthfrom theInternet. Distribute them to thestudentsand read together, highlighting the section dealing with of charity.

  5. Distribute Attachment Two: Character Qualities. Discuss the two characters in the story, Ruth and Boaz. What type of person was Boaz-the donor, and what type of person was the Ruth- the recipient?

  6. Have the learners write each of their character qualities in the appropriate columns found on Attachment Two.

  7. Discuss the reward that Boaz received from being a charitable person---marrying Ruth and being the great grandfather of King David.

  8. Distribute paper and pens/pencils to the students andask them to create a Bible-like story that models itself after the story of Ruth and Boaz.In their writing, have the learners use the qualities identified on the Attachment Two: Character Qualities to help them create and develop characters that emulate those qualities of a generous person.


Learners will be assessed based on their participation in class discussions. Their stories will be assessed based on their understanding of charitable acts, development of charitable personalities/qualities, and an understanding of a non-monetary reward for giving charity.

Cross Curriculum 

Create a Bible-like story, in writing, that explains how an act of charity changes the lives of two people, the giver and the recipient. Identify a real person or create a fictional person who emulates the qualities of Boaz and develop a story that shows acts of charity and the non-monetary rewards of giving charity.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.6 Describe how the civil society sector is often the origin of new ideas, projects and innovation and social renewal.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe and compare stewardship in a variety of cultural traditions.