Our Mission: Gemilut Hesed

Gemilut Hesed is generally translated as an “act of loving-kindness,” and usually refers to a special type of mitzvah that is performed with no expectation of any reward.

According to the great 12th Century Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides), there are eight degrees of charity, each one higher than the other. The highest degree is to aid a Jew in want by offering him a gift or a loan, by entering into partnership with him, or by providing work for him, so that he may become self-supporting, without having to ask people for anything.

The Torah uses the word “lend” not “gift”.  Why a loan? A loan allows the recipient to maintain his dignity. A loan has psychological benefits over a hand out.

What is the purpose of “in that which he lacks“?  To emphasize that, within reason, a person of means who encounters poverty should receive tzedakah in an amount to assist him in achieving the lifestyle to which he was accustomed.

Hebrew Free Loan Association of Houston offers Interest-free loans to Jewish individuals and families of the greater Houston area whose needs are urgent and who do not qualify for loans through normal financial channels. Interest-free loans, instead of charity, fill an important gap in our social system by promoting self-sufficiency with dignity.

HFLA’s current president is Paul Wainstein.