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Authorities like the Or Zaru'a have been so stringent as to say that even mental pledges are binding when it comes to gifts to the poor. Many less extreme opinions hold that verbal pledges of the same are binding. If one pledged a specific pile of money (specific bills or coins) to be given to an individual in need, would he be allowed to exchange that pile for a different one of like value?

I assume this could depend not only on the laws of gifts to the poor but also the laws of binding statements/oaths in general if one made a specific statement such as "I pledge to give this $50 to Mr. X."

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I heard a story (a Chasidic one, if I remember) that you're not allowed to take money out of a tzedakah box, even for change, etc. I don't remember where I read it. I haven't seen this done in practice. – b a Aug 2 '12 at 3:46
If it parallels korbanos, that is the distinction between a neder (I promise a korban) and a nedava (This is a korban). – YDK Aug 2 '12 at 5:46
(Just to source YDK's statement see Mishna Kinim 1:1) – Double AA Aug 2 '12 at 5:53
@YDK and DoubleAA - A possible difference I see is that even in the "I pledge this money" case מעות להוצאה ניתנו so perhaps their inherent liquidity makes that requirement not take hold. I should probably work that into the question. – WAF Aug 2 '12 at 19:39

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