Discussions for this daf
1. Giving Tzedakah 2. The donation of Ifra Hurmiz
DAF DISCUSSIONS - BAVA BASRA 10

Dave Pine asked:

Hello. I heard from a maggid shiur where he quoted from a gemara the following. ( ithink he was it was a gemara) If u have even a penny, be very careful putting it into the pushkah, unless the person in charge of the pushka is Reb chanina ben tradyon. He managed every penny totally lshm mitzvah. THE meaning is taht if u give lets say 100 dollars to tzadakeh and the head of the tzadakeh uses it for lets say a non essential tzadakah purpose the donor loses his schar. Example, a person gets tzadakah from the fund that isnt shomer mitzvohs or shomer shbbs. The donor loses schar cause he couldve given the tzadakeh to support a talmid chacam or a large frum family. My question is please explain this.

Also i give money to a regular yeshiva like mir in eretz yisroel or torah vodath. how and should i? i dont know how every penny is managed but i want the most schar. Please give me a real hesber.

Thank you

Dave

The Kollel replies:

It seems that the Gemara to which you are referring is in Bava Basra 10b (and also in Avodah Zarah 17b), where the Gemara quotes a Beraisa which teaches, "Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov said, 'One should not give a Perutah to the charity fund unless a Talmid Chacham like Rebbi Chanina ben Teradyon is appointed over it'." Tosfos there explains that this refers to appointing a very trustworthy person over the Tzedakah fund, who will be responsible to distribute it properly (as described in the Shulchan Aruch, YD 256:1). This is also the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (YD 249:7), who points out that giving Tzedakah to a fund entrusted with a trustworthy supervisor is akin to the highest level of Tzedakah -- when the poor person does not know the identity of the person he receives it from, and when the person giving it does not know who the recipient is.

The Chafetz Chayim indeed writes in "AHAVAS CHESED" that the best form of Tzedakah is that which is given in order to support Talmidei Chachamim and the study of Torah, so you are on the right track. (Of course, there are other rules that determine how to give Tzedakah, depending on a person's location and the specific needs of others at the time.)

We can never know if our efforts will achieve the goals we have set for them. However, when one gives Tzedakah to the best of his ability, l'Shem Shamayim, Hash-m will see to it that the money will be used for the proper causes. (Bear in mind that at the very least, by not scrutinizing how the recipients of our Tzedakah use the money we give them, we will be Zocheh to Hash-m's mercy and He will not overly scrutinize our deeds.)

Let me conclude with a pertinent story about Hagaon Rav Chaim of Volozhen that involves this week's Parsha, Vayakhel (as told by Sefer Koheles Yakov on the Torah, by Rav Yitzchak of Vilna ~1900).

It happened that a certain person stopped giving money to a collector for the Volozhener Yeshiva when he saw the collector coming to town on a horse-drawn carriage. He wanted all of his money to go to poor people, and not to horses and carriages. The collector mentioned to Rav Chaim Volozhen how distressed he was that a certain person did not give him money this time. The Rav asked that he be called to accompany the collector the next time he goes to that town, which he did. When Rav Chaim met the former contributor, and heard his complaint, he asked him whether he learns Gemara, Mishnah, Midrash, or Chumash, and he responded that he learns Chumash. Rav Chaim said, "I will prove to you from the Chumash that you should not be disturbed by such considerations," explaining as follows.

The verse (Shemos 35:32) says that Betzalel knew how to "discern thoughts (Lachashov Machshavos) to fashion things out of gold, silver, and copper." What does it mean that he knew "Lachashov Machshavos?" What "thoughts" is it necessary for him to know in order to perform his work on the Mishkan? The answer is that there were many utensils that needed to be made for the construction of the Mishkan. How was Betzalel to know which gold, donated by which person, to use for this utensil, and which gold to use for the other utensil? The answer is that Hash-m determines the purpose for which a person's donations will be used according to the willingness and love with which he gave the donation. One who gives gold with the most purest and upright intentions will be Zocheh that his gold will be used for the Paroches; one who has less pure intentions will have his gold used for more mundane parts of the Mishkan. The Torah is telling us that Betzalel was granted the Ru'ach ha'Kodesh "to discern thoughts" and to know the donor's intentions in giving the donation, and thus he knew what gold to use for which objects.

Below are some of the things that we have written on the topic of Tzedakah.

All the best,

Y. Shaw

P.S. All donations submitted to Kollel Iyun HaDaf are used to continue our important work of learning and disseminating Torah worldwide. Visit http://www.dafyomi.co.il/sponsors.htm .

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From Insights to Bava Basra 9

2) ONE WHO SEEKS TO DO GOOD

QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that if a person is worthy, then Hash-m causes people who are indeed deserving of charity to come to him. If a person is not worthy, then people who are not deserving of charity come to him. Rabah derived this from the verse, "May they be caused to stumble before You; at the time of Your anger, act against them" (Yirmiyahu 18:23), in which Yirmiyahu asks Hash-m to cause the sinners of the people to stumble. Rabah explains that Yirmiyahu was asking Hash-m that even at a time when the people bend their evil inclinations and seek to do charity, Hash-m should bring to them people who are not deserving of charity so that they should not receive reward for their acts of charity.

The Acharonim ask that the Gemara in Berachos (6a) and in Kidushin (40a) teaches that when one has intention to do a Mitzvah but is prevented from doing it (due to an Ones, circumstances beyond his control), he is rewarded as if he had done the Mitzvah. Why, then, will it help Yirmiyahu's purpose if the people give charity to those who are undeserving of charity? The givers still had intention to do the Mitzvah of Tzedakah, and therefore they should receive reward for that intention! (SUKAS DAVID, DEVAR MOSHE)

ANSWERS:

(a) The DEVAR MOSHE suggests that it is the sins of the givers themselves that make them unfit to give charity to deserving causes. Consequently, the fact that undeserving people come to them for charity is not an Ones, for it is a result of the givers' own sins.

(b) The NIMUKEI YOSEF in Bava Kama (6b of the pages of the Rif) cites the RAMAH who explains that a person who gives charity to one who is underserving will still receive reward only when the giver is not aware that the recipient is undeserving. When the giver is aware that the recipient is undeserving, then he does not receive any reward for his act. (I. Alsheich)

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From Bava Basra 10:

2) THE SEVERITY OF WITHHOLDING HELP FROM THE POOR

QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rav Papa was once ascending some steps and his foot slipped and he almost fell. He lamented that by nearly falling to his death, he almost met the fate of a person who is Chayav for desecrating the Shabbos or for worshipping Avodah Zarah, both of which are punished with Sekilah (falling to one's death, as in Kesuvos 30b). Chiya bar Rav suggested to Rav Papa that perhaps a poor person once came to him and Rav Papa did not support him, for Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah taught that one who hides his eyes from the needs of a poor person and does not support him is considered as if he worshipped Avodah Zarah. Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah derives this from a Gezeirah Shaveh.

What, though, is the logical comparison between worshipping Avodah Zarah and not helping a poor person?

ANSWERS:

(a) The MAHARSHA (9a, DH Shekulah) answers that when a person gives Tzedakah, he suffers no loss of funds as a result, because Hash-m replenishes his funds for him, as the verse states, "The one who is gracious to the poor is considered to have lent money to Hash-m, and He will pay him back for his kindness" (Mishlei 19:17). Accordingly, one who refrains from giving to the poor has heretical thoughts, for he says to himself that there is no one who will replenish his loss of funds. It is as if he is denying the power of Hash-m and is worshipping the power of money.

(b) RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN (in KOVETZ SHI'URIM here) writes that one who worships Avodah Zarah does so because he believes that the idol has the ability to benefit him or to cause him to suffer. Similarly, one who refuses to give money to a poor person does so because he believes that money has the power to benefit him and that if he has less money he will suffer. Hence, he shows that he makes his welfare depending on money, and not on Hash-m, and he makes money the god in whom he trusts. In truth, though, "Wealth will not help on the day of wrath" (Mishlei 11:4), and it will not save him from hardship or punishment if such is decreed upon him. On the contrary, by "suffering" as a result of giving his money to the poor, he will be saved from suffering in other ways, as we see from the incident of the nephews of Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai. The same applies to doing acts of Tzedakah with resources other than one's money, such as with one's body; by toiling and bothering oneself, or by suffering some disgrace, in order to do an act of Tzedakah or a Mitzvah, one exempts himself from a decree of toil or shame from another source. (I. Alsheich)

3) A POSSIBLE EXCUSE NOT TO GIVE TZEDAKAH

QUESTION: The Beraisa quotes a Machlokes between the Rabanan and Raban Shimon ben Gamliel in a case where two partners own an area or an object that is not large enough to be divided between them, such as a Chatzer with an area of less than eight Amos (see previous Insight). One partner offers to let the other have the minimum amount that is necessary for dividing a Chatzer (four Amos), while he himself will take the remainder, even though it is less than the minimum amount of a Chatzer. The Rabanan maintain that the other partner must accept those terms (for they are beneficial to him) and let the Chatzer be divided. Raban Shimon ben Gamliel says that the other partner may refuse to accept the terms of the division. The Gemara explains that the reason why Raban Shimon ben Gamliel says that the partner may refuse to divide the Chatzer even though he, apparently, is benefiting from it, is because that partner can claim that he does not want to receive any gift because the verse says, "One who despises gifts will live" (Mishlei 15:27).

This concept of "one who despises gifts will live" seems to contradict the general Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah. Whenever a person gives Tzedakah to a poor person, he is actually harming the poor person by shortening his life by causing him to accept a gift! Similarly, how can it be permitted to give money to support Talmidei Chachamim if "one who despises gifts will live?"

ANSWERS:

(a) The CHIDA (in Teshuvos Chaim Sha'al I:74:42) answers based on the view of the Rishonim mentioned above (see previous Insight) that when the giver has intention to receive personal benefit from giving the gift, then it is not considered a gift. By giving Tzedakah to a poor person or by supporting Talmidei Chachamim, the giver receives tremendous reward for his Mitzvah, and thus it is not considered a gift since the giver also benefits from it.

RAV CHANOCH HENOCH KARELENSTEIN zt'l (in Mar'ei Mekomos) answers based on the words of the OR HA'CHAIM HA'KADOSH in Parshas Mishpatim. The verse says, "When you lend money to any of My people, to the poor person among you, do not act to him as one who demands repayment of a loan, and do not set upon him interest" (Shemos 22:24). The Orach Chaim explains the verse to be saying, "If you see that you have more money than you need for your own needs and thus you lend it to My people, you should know that that money is not part of your allotted portion, but rather it belongs to others -- to the poor person among you." (The concept that the money that one gives to poor person does not really belong to the giver is written in the TUR, Yoreh De'ah 247, who says that the money of a wealthy man is a Pikadon, a deposit, from Hash-m, Who expects the wealthy man to do the appropriate things with that money.)

Accordingly, giving money to a poor person is not considered giving him a gift, because that money rightfully belongs to him in the first place. (I. Alsheich)

Mordechai Dixler writes:

Yesterday, I told over the story you cited below to a friend of mine. We happened to be discussing Matanos LiEvyonim. My friend made a point that maybe the distibution of each person's money for Matanos LiEvyonim will depend on the taharas hamachshava of the giver. So I told over your appropriate R' Chaim Volozhiner story. Of course he found the story very interesting but he had the following question - Couldn't R' Chaim have kept this donor's money in a special envelope and made sure to spend it directly on Talmud Torah and not fundraising expenses? It's a pretty simple question, but is there any reason he couldn't do that?

Our resolution was that even if he would put that money in a special place it would automatically be considered part of his pool of collected donations. Similar to the concept of Milveh Lihotzaa - the particular dollar bills are not what are donated, rather you have bought a chelek of the yeshiva's funds equal to the value of your donation. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Kol Tuv,

Mordechai Dixler

The Kollel replies:

That's a nice thought. Yasher Kochach and Purim Same'ach!

Mordecai