Alms box

Alms box for the poor and scholars in the Holy Land

The inscription on this mass-produced Tzedakah box reads in Hebrew: “Tzedakah for the poor in the name of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness of blessed memory” and in German: “For the poor in the Holy Land”. The locket in the middle features a popular presentation of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, titled in Hebrew “Western Wall”. The Hebrew word tzedakah is commonly used to mean charity and the purpose of this box is to collect donations for the needy in Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. However, the term tzedakah actually has a broader meaning: it is literally translated righteousness, in the sense of justice. For those who live a good, even modest life it is a religious obligation to help those in need. This is not a question of wealth, but a question of sharing what one has. And those in need have the right to receive tzedakah and can accept it without shame. In general, tzedakah is given and received anonymously by both parties, i.e. the donors should be as unknown as the recipients. Tzedakah has to be performed throughout the year, but it is customary to take special collections at individual festive ceremonies like anniversaries and weddings, and on collective religious holidays like Pesach and Purim. [FHJ]

Height: 13 cm, width: 11 cm, depth: 6 cm
ŽM-D 858 X-10


Besamim made of olive wood
Jerusalem, first quarter of the 20th century
ŽM-D 906 XI-48, ŽM-D 905 XI-47