Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: TZEDAKA Category:LESSONS IN TZEDOKA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Mon, 06 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Parshas Vayakhel: Rav Chaim Soloveitchik's Long Wait

"K'chu Mei'itchem Truma" take from them donations (Vayakhel 35:5). The pasuk before says that Moshe spoke directly to the people and not to those collecting the money. Why does it say "take" instead of "give", who were they taking from?

The MiShulchan Gavoa brings from Rav Zalman Sorotzkin in Oznayim LaTorah a stroy to explain. When Yeshivas Volozhin was in financial difficulties, Rav Chaim Solovetichik then a Rebbi in the Yeshiva went on a fundraising mission to Rav Boruch Zeldovitz one of the Yeshiva's wealthy supporters in Minsk.

Rav Chaim need an exorbitant sum which Rav Boruch agreed to raise while Rav Chaim sat and learned in Rav Boruch's home. After a number of days Rav Chaim asked Rav Boruch how it was going and he said that he already had half the money. Rav Chaim was delighted and went back to his learning. After several more days Rav Boruch proudly told Rav Chaim that he now raised the entire sum. Thrilled Rav Chaim returned to Volozhin.

After a period of time back home in Volozhin, it made its way to Rav Chaim's ears that the money that Rav Boruch "raised" was all from his own pocket. Perturbed Rav Chaim asked Rav Boruch why he kept him waiting in Minsk all that time if he himself gave the money? Rav Boruch answered, "Do you think it is so easy to part with so much money? First I spent time persuading myself to give half the money. Only after that was I able to fight myself to give the seconf half.

Rav Zalman Sorotzkin says that we see from here that even when there is no wrestling the money away from you, still there is a struggle and you need to wrestle it away from yourself. The Torah says "take" and not "give" because if you wait for yourself to give you will wait a long time. You must take it from yourself.

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Emor: Rav Chaim of Volozhin - Giving Tzedoka Like A Goy

The Mishulach of the famed Volozhin Yeshiva came to a potential donor who was willing to give a donation. However he refused to give it to the Mishulach and insisted on sending directly to Rav Chaim Volozhin. Along with the donation he wrote to Rav Chaim that the money can only be used to benefit the Yeshiva and the Mishulach may not get a percentage of the money.

Rav Chaim read the letter and promptly sent the money back. He wrote to the donor that this is the way a Goy give tzedaka. The non-Jew only gives directly to his god, while a Yid is happy to let others benefit from his money.

We see this in Parshas Emor, wrote Rav Chaim. When the Torah discusses the Korban of a non-Jew (Emor 22:18) it says "Asher Yakrivu Lashem L'Olah". The non-Jew only donates and Olah which goes purely to Hashem, but does not offer a Shlamim which the Kohanim eat from as well. (Yagdil Torah)

Wed, 04 May 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Chaim Ben Betzalel - Why We Need To Help The Cursed

A person's poverty is from Hashem. How dare we then go and giver that person money? Isn't that going directly against Hashem? This was the attitude of the people of Sidom says the Sefer HaChaim (Parnassa V'Chalkala 6). Only they could have had such warped logic, and they were amply punished for it.

But what is the answer to their seemingly legintimate question? The Sefer HaChaim explains with a Mashal. When child misbehaves his father needs to teach him a lesson. He gives him a severe punishment which he hope will send a loud and clear message which will rectify his behavior. While the child suffers with his punishment the father watches and his heart breaks, but he knows if he caves in, the lesson will be lost.

Yet the father can't watch his own child suffer, so what does he do? There is no doubt that the father hopes someone else will come and take the child out of his suffering. This will serve everyone's purpose and surely the father will repay the savior in abundance.

Hashem inflicts poverty on people for various reasons not necessarily as a punishment but out of love to strengthen a person. However Hashem's suffers heartbreak kviyachol together with the poor person. Hashem cannot relieve his pain or the purpose will be defeated. Hashem wants us to end the misery of the poor man and Hashem will pay us handsomely for our kindness to his beloved suffering child. To bad the people in Sidom couldn't figure this out.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Chaim Ben Betzalel - The emunah Of Planting

The gemara in Shabbos (31a) says that we learn the six sedarim from the pasuk in Yeshaya (33:6), "V'Haya emunas Itecha Chosen Yeshuos...". Seder Zra'im is referenced by the word "emunas". Tosfos brings a Yerushalmi that explains that someone who takes a seed and throws it below the ground to let them rot, expecting life sustaining produce to grow, shows that he is Maamin in Hashem.

Rav Chaim ben Betzalel the brother of the Maharal MiPrague, in his classic Sefer HaChaim asks, is there any fool in the world who doesn't beleive in planting? What will he then eat? What is the Yerushalmi saying? He offers a different interpretation of this Yerushalmi. Seder Zra'im, says the Sefer HaChaim is about Trumos and Maasros. A person plants and then takes off part and gives it to the Kohen. There is no police ensuring he give this, and no one to measure that he gave the required amount. Yet the person does it because he believes in Hashem.

Just like it seems odd that a person throws a seed in the ground expecting great returns, so too taking your hard earned labor and sweat and giving it to the Kohen and Levi seems a strange way to make money.  Yet the same perfectly natural phenomenon that allows a a disposed seed to flourish into food, will take money given away and return it many times over. This is the emunah of Seder Zra'im.

We must believe and know that tzedaka is no different than an any other investment in this world. Just like we believe in planting and investing, we need to believe that a return on Tzedaka is perfectly natural and in line with the way the world works.  If you choose to eat more food and leave over, remember you are trading great wealth for a few extra crumbs.

Wed, 19 Jan 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Alshich - Why Didn't Hashem Didn't Choose Communism

Dovid HaMelech asks Hashem (Tehilim 61:8) according to the Medrash Tanchuma, "Yeisheiv Olam Lifnei Elokim", let all humanity live on equal footing before you Hashem. Why should there be poor people and rich people? Can Hashem not ensure that everyone has the same amount? Hashem answered him "Chesed VeEmes Man Yintzruhu", then who will perform Chesed?

The world is about Chesed and in an equal world, Chesed opportunities are few and far between. Surely there is a rhyme and reason why some people are poor and some are rich. This has to do with each person individually and his mission in life. However says the Alshich (Behar 25:35), Hashem could have made life difficult for the Ani in other ways. The reason he chose to inflict him with poverty is strictly for the benefit of the people with money who are capable of helping him out.

So next time a poor person asks you for help do not judge him. Do not give him the look that says "I worked for my money and what exactly do you do besides shnorr". If it weren't for you he wouldn't be a begging either. This is all about you and it is your big opportunity. The Ani will not be any better or worse off whether you answer or reject his plea for assistance. You will!

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Chaim Zaitchek - Matan B'Seser, Face To Face & Heart To Heart Tzedaka is a very tricky mitzva to do right.  Even after you manage to come to terms with parting with something that rightfully belongs to you, there is another very delicate issue.  Your mitzva is built on the shame of another Jew.  As hard is giving is, taking is even harder.  We all prefer to be rich, and no one actually likes to ask or to need from others, but that is how Hashem made the world and divided the two camps to givers and takers.

You can be generous and give with a smile but the mitzva is not complete and always stained by the fact that it comes at the expense of another Jew's pride.  We don't want sullied mitzvos, so what to do?  Chazal tell us that Matan B'seser is one of the greatest levels of the mitzva.  The gemara in Bava Basra (10b) says that that this means the giver does not know who he is giving it to, and the taker does not know who he is taking it from.

Rav Chaim Zaitchek has a novel explanation of this statement of Chazal.  He says this can be achieved even if the giver and taker meet face to face.  How?  Although impossible to convey in his always eloquent language, he says that if the poor man's shame before the rich man is returned with a broken heart and extreme empathy in the form of encouragement and consolation, then the two melted hearts mix and become one.  The pain shared by both sides of the transaction make it impossible to distinguish between the giver and taker.  This is what Chazal mean the giver does not know the taker and vice versa.

It should come to the level as the Torah says "Im Kesef Talveh Es Ami Es HaAni Imach", if you lend money to my nation to the poor person with you (Mishpatim 22:24).  This "poor person with you" is your deep feeling of pain for the poor person.  It makes you feel like you are him, standing in his shoes, feeling his daily strife.  "Lo SiAmetz Es Livavcha V'Lo Sikpotz Es Yadecha Mei Achicha HaEvyon", do not hold back either your hand or your heart from the poor man (Re'ei 15:7).  Remember he is not a needy person, he is your needy brother.  He needs your heart first and then your money.  Furthermore remember that he is not the "Ani", he is your brother.

We all know that Hashem made some people rich and some poor in order to merit us with making all men equal, although we were not created that way.  We should think deeper into this and realize that the financial equilibrium that we are trying to create should be paralleled by an emotional and social one as well.  Bequeathing charity on someone less fortunate should not further open up the social divide, but rather close it.  True Achdus!

Wed, 10 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
From Shnorrer To Philanthropist "Rodef Tzedaka V'Chesed Yimtza Chaim Tzedaka V'Chavod", he who chases tzedaka and chesed will find, life, tzedaka, and honor.  The gemara (Bava Basra 9b) explains that if a person chases after tzedaka Hashem will provide him with money to give to tzedaka.  How is he chasing tzedaka if he doesn't have money?  Secondly ask the Meforshim, the lashon Rodef implies that the Tzedaka is running away from him.  Why is it running?  Lastly why will he find honor if he chases tzedaka?

We can answer all these questions with the pshat of the Maharsha.  The Maharsha says that the person chasing tzedaka has no money.  He is chasing others to persuade them to give tzedaka.  He is the local collector.  Chazal tell us that collecting tzedaka from others is a great mitzva.  People with money to give cross the street when they see him or pull down the shades when he rings the bell.  He may be chasing, but they are running fast.  Tzedaka is running away from him.  The collectors heart breaks at his inability to raise money, while watching the poor and sick wither away.  

His reward is that Hashem lavishes riches upon him.  He not only can now be Mechaye Meisim on the unfortunate among us, but instead of receiving bizyonos from constant rejection, in his new role he now finds the triple crown of life for the poor, money for tzedaka, and honor as a so called "respectable" Baal Chesed.

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Tzedaka - When It's Destined To Go, There Is No Way To Hold On Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai (Bava Basra 10a) saw in a dream that his nephews were destined to lose seven hundred dinarim.  Without revealing this to them he forced them to give as much tzedaka as he could.  They gave a total of 683 dinarim.  On Erev Yom Kippur some guards came from the Emperor's palace and took 17 dinarim from them.

They were very worried that this would become a constant occurrence.  Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai told them not to worry.  He told them about his dream in the beginning of the year and explained to them that these 17 dinarim couple with their tzedaka of 683 dinarim totaled the 700 that they were going to lose anyway.

They then asked their uncle Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai why he didn't reveal his dream to them so that they would have given away the full seven hundred to tzedaka rather than lose it to the Emperor's coffers.  He answered that he wanted them to have the mitzva of Tzedaka Lishma.

A similar story is told about a man who came drying to the great Mikubal Rav Mordechai Sharabi that he is having an operation the next day to remove a tumor.  Rav Sharabi looked at the x-rays and told him not to worry everything is fine, but he should give the cost of the operation to tzedaka.  He didd and the next day after taking another x-ray the doctors told him he was perfectly fine and the operation was canceled.

The only thing you lose by giving tzedaka is the tzorus that come with any other way the money will need to be taken from.  You can try to save a few hundred dollars here and there by not giving to tzedaka but at the end it will all be lost anyway in a more aggravating fashion, starting from a broken washing machine and busted pipe to even worse chas v'shalom.  You may as well spend it in a more productive and gratifying manner.

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
To Accept Or Not To Accept, That Is The Question From the gemara Bava Basra 110 we learn that one should distance himself from accepting charity, and should live a life of poverty rather than to avail himself unto others. Chazal say that a person should make his Shabbos a weekday (i.e. he shouldn’t spend so much), rather than to collect charity. Even if he is a well respected Talmid Chacham that became poor, should work, even in a menial labor, just so that he shouldn’t have to accept charity.

Having said that, if a person can’t survive without accepting charity, and he can’t work due to sickness or old age, or even if his salary can’t make ends meet, and such a person doesn’t accept charity due to pride or misguided piety, then it’s as if he committed murder. Furthermore, all the pain and suffering that he has because of his poverty, will not be considered merits, on the contrary, it will be considered sins.

However, a person who can survive, and he chooses to live a life of abject poverty just so that he won’t have to avail himself unto others, Hashem guarantees him that he will eventually become wealthy and he will support others.

If a charlatan collects charity when he has no need for it, he will eventually become poor and really need charity.

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Like Sheep Speeding Through The Water The gemara says (Gittin 7a) if a person see his wealth shrinking he should make from them tzedaka, and certainly if his wealth is great.  The pasuk says, "V'Chein Nagozu V'Avar", and then he will cut and pass (Nachum 1).  D'Bei Rebbi Yishmael explains this with a Mashal.  If a person has two sheep that must cross the river, one is full with wool and the other is bare, the bald sheep will pass the water and make it to the other side while the one with the wool will sink and drown.

Wealth, says the gemara, will weigh you down, but if you "shear" your wealth you will fly past Gehinom.  This applies to both the rich and poor alike.  The Likutei Basar Likutei brings from the Ein Eliyahu who explains that this is quite a significant promise since like wool which is shorn only to let more grow back again, the wealthy man who give tzedaka for the purpose of further bracha from Hashem.  Nevertheless he will be spared Gehinom.  

The poor man who gave tzedaka to escape his miserable plight will also be spared Gehinom even though he traded his Gehinom on earth for richer pastures by investing in Tzedaka.  Whatever troubles he deserved in this world and escaped from, through his giving, will not come back to haunt him in the next world.

The lesson here is that no matter what condition your finances are in, Tzedaka defies gravity and is the world's only "no risk" deal.  It is a great investment both in this world and in the next.

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000