By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, December 29, 2009

Northern Israel boasts a nature reserve called Ramat Hanadiv, the Benefactor’s Heights — it sounds better in Hebrew. Nadiv means both generous and noble. Moses collects donations for the construction of the Tabernacle from the nediv lev, the generous of heart (Exodus 35:22). However, Psalms 113:7-8 praises God for raising the poor from the dust, to set them with the nedivim, the people in power.

Proverbs 19:6 brings together both meanings, “Many court the favour of a nadiv, and all are friends of a dispenser of gifts.” As the French medieval commentator, Rabbi Levi ben Gershon explains, “Generosity (nedivut) is a good trait, for important people will seek the nadiv to receive from his kindness.” Nedivut places one in a leadership position.

Pre-state Israel’s great benefactor, Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1935) was simply called hanadiv. Ramat Hanadiv is but one site dedicated to his memory. Nadiv denotes both the munificence and aristocracy of Baron de Rothschild.

Last updated: 11:43am, December 29 2009