“You must surely open your hand to him” (Devarim 15,8)
It is a positive commandment to perform charity with happiness and good heartedness with one who needs it. That is to say, that he should give of his money to one who is lacking it and strengthen the poor person with anything he needs for his sustenance with all our ability. About this it says “you must surely open your hand to him”. Chazal explain that the double wording “you shall surely open” means that you must do it even a number of times.
Amongst the roots of the commandment, that Hashem wants His creations to be educated in and accustomed to the character traits of kindness and mercy for this is a praiseworthy character trait and through the preparation of the body with good character traits one will be worthy to receive good, and when Hashem gives good to the good, His desire to do good to the world will be complete.
Amongst the laws of the commandment: that which Chazal have said that the main point of this commandment is to give charity to the one responsible for distribution of charity so that he can give it to one who needs it, for if the donor himself will give the charity to a poor person, the recipient will be embarrassed every time he sees him. Through giving to the one responsible for distributing charity, he does not know who he has given to, he is not embarrassed of him and the donor will also never be able to embarrass the recipient for the donor does not know who the recipient is and the recipient does not know from whom he received.
This commandment is applicable even to exceedingly rich people (for example a rich person who is in a place where they don’t recognise him and needs to borrow) and even to a rich person who is in his own town and in the place where they know him -sometimes due to illness or other circumstances, he may need something which you have and he cannot find in another place, this is also included in the commandment of charity for the Torah always chooses paying kindness and will always command us to fulfil the will of the creations who are of the people of the covenant, in as much as our hands can manage. The rule here is, that anyone who benefits his friend, whether with money, with food or with his other needs or even with positive talk or words of comfort, is included in the commandment of charity and his reward is exceedingly great.
Chazal have said that no person ever reaches a state of poverty due to the quantity of charity that he performs as it says “and the act of charity will be peace” and the Jewish people will only be redeemed in the merit of charity as it says “Zion will be redeemed in justice and her captives in charity.”
This commandment applies in every place and at every time, to men and to women. One who does not perform charity at a time when it is requested of him, or when he sees that there is a necessity and he has the ability to give and does not do so, transgresses this positive commandment.