Rambam on Pirkei Avos 3:15 suggests that it is better to give a certain amount of tzedakah each day over several days rather than giving the equivalent total all at once, because each act of giving amounts to a unique mitzvah.

In this regard, what if someone has a tzedakah box in their home, and after contributing to it for a time, decides to collect the contents and deliver it to a needy person? Does this constitute a single act of tzedakah, since the money remained in the donor's control until the end, or does each act of designating funds for tzedakah equate to the mitzvah of giving charity?

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    A test case could be: if you decide to give ¥100 to tzedakka and put it in a pushka and then the pushka is stolen; must you give the ¥100 again?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:51
  • The close vote seems inappropriate. The OP is by no means asking a shailoh. Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 16:11
  • @DoubleAA R Shimon Taub (see my answer below) writes that, in your case, "If the pushka was stolen one is not obliged to replace the money. However if one was negligent in the pushka's safekeeping he would have to replace the money."
    – mbloch
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


R Shimon Taub in The laws of tzedakah and maaser (p. 113) specifically addresses your case

One who put money in a pushka which is set aside for a specific tzedakah is not permitted to retrieve the money, because once it is given the tzedakah is considered acquired by the poor.

It appears clear from the above that the act of giving is considered tzedakah from the time of giving and that each act of designating funds for tzedakah equates to the mitzvah of giving charity. The fact one has physical control over the box doesn't mean it is once property.

However he permits making a stipulation that the pushka is not considered tzedakah until one gives it away. But by default (without this stipulation) the above applies.

  • I suppose the phrase "a specific tzedakah" in the quote implies that this would only apply when a certain recipient is designated.
    – Premundane
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 18:10
  • I understood it either if it is a pushka dedicated to one institution or if you have in mind to give it to one specific institution
    – mbloch
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 3:30

Logically speaking, it's never tzedakah unless money changes hands.

The Rambam's 8 levels of tzedakah [Hilkhot matanot aniyim ("Laws about Giving to Poor People") 10:7–14] all begin with "giving". What have you "given" when you put money in a pushka?

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    I agree. But by transferring the money from your pocket to the tzedakah box, a good deed has been done. This deed is reversible and therefore the donation is not yet tzedakah. Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 16:10
  • What about amira l'gavoha k'mesira l'hedyot Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 13:27

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