Three men CAN keep a secret

…if they’re tzaddikim and the secret is hidden helpfulness


Literally: yin/negative/shadow/secret – virtue – yang/positive/sunlight – reward

Alternately: Performing acts of benevolence and charity in secret will nonetheless benefit the doer. It’s tempting to publicize one’s good deeds in hopes of winning acclaim in society, but karma is sure to even (or especially) reward good deeds that are hidden from public knowledge.

Notes: Note also the post on 因果応報; good-aligned variant 善因善果 ( is considered a synonym of today’s compound.

This yojijukugo comes to us from our friend the Huainanzi (淮南子, Enanji or, rarely, Wainanshi), in the chapter on “In the World of Man” (人間訓, Ningen-kun).

I like this one because it accords well with the Maimonides’ hierarchy of charity (bottom of page), in which the second-highest level is “giving when neither party knows the other’s identity.” (The absolute best is considered to be charity that allows the recipient to become self-reliant thereafter; i.e. teaching someone to fish is better than any manner or volume of fish-donation.)


Rabbi Moses ben Maimon

(Picture attribution Blaisio Ugolino [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons])

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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