Human nature is to desire to be self-sufficient. Most of us are uncomfortable being takers and prefer earning our own keep. If, due to dire circumstances, we find ourselves on the receiving end, our reaction is generally one of mortification. The Torah is acutely sensitive to the precarious dynamic between patrons and their beneficiaries. The Torah's word for the act of giving to the needy, tzedakah, although commonly translated as "charity," more accurately means "justice."
Two women pass a beggar on the street. They have the same income and expenses. The first weeps at the suffering of the beggar and gives him $5 out of the goodness of her heart. The second notices but rushes past. Later in the day, however, she feels compelled because of her religious beliefs and returns to give the beggar $100. Who is the better person? Why are Jews so generous?