Section: Tzedaka   Category: Lessons in Tzedoka
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.