Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nothing but Donations


There is hardly anyone today, neither a Rabbi nor an institution, who is not after your money. Everyone needs donations and some Rabbis don't care how the money is floating in. The main issue is getting the donations no matter how and a Rabbi can be as frum as he wants but when it comes to money, some Rabbis are worse than any secular Jew. However, they still justify their actions with keeping up their services and institution. 

When I go somewhere today, first of all I make it clear that I don't have much money. Even if it is not always the case. However, as soon as you signalize that you may have a few hundred Shekels in your pocket, someone asks you for a donation. For instance: A few weeks ago, I went to a Shiur. A pretty boring one, I have to say and I worked really hard not to fall asleep. At the end of the lecture, the Rabbi told us a story about receiving a letter by mistake where someone is asking for donations in order to get a new Torah scroll written. 

I didn't really get it but the Shiur Rabbi somehow took it upon himself to also collect for the new scroll and asked us Shiur participants for a 20 Shekel (approx. 6 Dollar) donation. To be very honest: I didn't believe a word and I am still convinced that the Rabbi wanted the money for himself. Nevertheless, all of us (at least four people) gave him the 20 Shekels and he stressed that now we have the big S'chut (merit) to own an Ot (letter) in a new Torah scroll. 

Halacha says that although we may have given a "wrong" donation (where the person is using the money for himself), we still earned the merit and the Mitzvah is ours. On the other hand, I can't stand such parasites making money in the name of religion. 

Moreover, as soon as many Rabbis hear that I write on the Internet, they immediately ask me to write about their institution or doings. Usually I don't do it unless someone has really something to offer and is contributing to society. Generally speaking, I am very careful today, to whom I donate money and in the case of the Torah scroll, I still regret that I gave money because my feeling tells me that the money went somewhere else. 

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the statement "Halacha says that although we may have given a "wrong" donation (where the person is using the money for himself), we still earned the merit and the Mitzvah is ours.", that is not accurate.

    We learn from Yirmiyahu ha'Navi that giving charity to an undeserving person is not the same mitzvah as giving it to a deserving person. It is a good deed, and one can get zchar for doing chessed, but it's not considered Tzedaka.

    The Gemarah in Baba Kamma (bottom of 16b) mentions a posuk in Yirmiyahu (18:23) where we learn that he was accused falsely of doing something bad and while in captivity, he prayed to Hashem that his accusers "give charity to the undeserving" and Raba explains that since giving Tzedaka to 'undeserving' results in no reward, Yirmiyahu wanted to deprive them of the Mitzvah of Tzedaka.

    We see from this Gemarah in Baba Kamma that giving to someone who is undeserving is not fulfilling the mitzvah of Tzedaka.

    However (as is often the case... ON THE OTHER HAND) we see from another gemarah, Qetuboth 68a that anyone who turns a blind eye to giving charity is like serving false Idols. The gemarah learns from there that giving tzedaka fulfills 2 mitzvot. One is the commandment to give charity and the other is to do chessed which is following in the ways of Hashem.

    SO while giving to an undeserving party one clearly followed the way of Hashem and did chessed, I am not sure according to Halacha one gets credit for the mitzvah of Tzedaka.

    Please let me know if you have a reference in Halacha that giving to the undeserving is fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedaka.

    I don't mean to sound like some frummi... which I am most definitely NOT! I just love learning.. following halacha is whole different ball game!!

    Keep up the good work!