Tithing: How Not To Do It

Kircher's Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

“Tithing,” or the giving of a tenth-part of what you have to a holy cause, has a long tradition behind it. In the book of Genesis, Abram (Abraham) gave Melchizedek a tithe of everything he had. In both Judaism and Christianity it became a moral obligation to give to charity or in the latter case, to the medieval church, where it became an early form of income tax.

Nowadays, when I note that self-help books advocate “tithing,” not to the Church or any religious institution in particular, but to charity generally, the idea being that by “paying it forward” one may expect future material benefits.

Needless to say, all these people have got the wrong end of the stick – and not least because giving anything to charity in the hope of gaining a reward therefrom is not literally “Charity.”

Man is both a spiritual and a material being. Now Qabalists are always saying that the Bible is allegorical, and in the case of the Abraham / Melchizedek incident, the real allegorical meaning of saying “Abram gave him a tenth part of everything,” is that he gave him a tenth part of all he had both spiritually and materially – in other words, a whole Sephirah! So if one assumes that to be Malkuth, it effectively means that Abraham did not give 10% of his goods to Melchizedek but his entire life on the physical plane.

Therefore, anyone who gives just 10% of his or her income to charity is in fact only giving 1% of all they have – a tenth of a tenth part!

To be honest, I personally do not advocate literally giving away everything that one physically possesses. The real key is to recognise that Charity – Agaph – is not what you give but why you give it, i.e. an inward disposition of your own soul. In this sense, being prepared to put all of your life on the physical plane at the disposal of “Charity” becomes a realistic proposition.

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