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Section: Tzedaka   Category: Lessons in Tzedoka
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!