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A strong, fit man decides that instead of grabbing the absolute closest and most convenient parking spot to his destination, he will leave it and park further away, in case someone more infirm/encumbered (not disabled - different topic) than him comes along.

As far as I know, there is no halachic obligation to do this, but doing so seems to be the bread and butter of being a decent thoughtful person. You'll also only find one person in a thousand who would do such a thing.

What does the Torah say about such a person? Is it bittul zman, or is he just being silly, because there's no halachic issue? Is it fine, but nothing special? Is it considered a small or even great act of loving kindness even if 99 times in 100 someone just as fit as him (or nobody at all) ends up grabbing the spot anyway?


Is there a guiding principle that can help us here? Does this case translate to all walks of life? Are there sources that praise a person who doesn't run to always be the first in a line? Who doesn't always claim every legal/tax benefit he is entitled to if he doesn't need it? Who waits at a kiddush to let everyone else get what they want and then see if there is anything left for him? Not as a matter of personal growth and perishut, but in the context of chesed. [Let's leave out extreme examples that involve distracting factors such as pikuach nefesh etc]

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    The Torah says to feed your animals first, that's why at a Kiddush the beheimos eat first. Random meme.
    – user6591
    Sep 4, 2023 at 12:18
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    People will park as close as possible to the entrance of a 5-mile walking trail. Sep 4, 2023 at 14:16
  • Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Matenot Aniyim 10 says that giving charity to the poor without knowing to whom he gave and without the poor person knowing from whom he received is the second highest level in [giving] charity, and close to this is giving to a charity fund. It also says that a person should not give to a charity fund unless he knows that the person managing it is faithful, wise, and capable of administering it in a proper manner...
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 5, 2023 at 16:42
  • ...This would suggest that it would be less worthy to do chesed without knowing it will reach a deserving recipient.
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 5, 2023 at 16:44

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There is a related principal that may be applied here. By leaving the parking spot/kiddush cake/spot in line, he has the potential that someone else who really needs it, might receive it. Although he has no control over that, if indeed someone who needs it does receive it, he gets credit. This idea is found in the Tosefta on Peah:

כדאיתא בתוספתא דפאה (ת״כ דבורא דחובה פרשתא י״ב סי' י״ג) דאפילו איבד מעות ומצאן עני ג״כ מתברך מזה כיון דסוף סוף נהנה העני מזה

Meaning, if someone lost money by mistake, and a needy person found it and used it, he gets the mitzvah of tzedaka since it came about from his money.

Although in this case it was his money, while in your case he left it for others and never took ownership for himself and then give it away, logic should say that it’s the same idea. If a chesed is derived as an outcome of something you did, even though you didn’t control it directly, it is still considered a Mitzvah on your part.

This doesn’t mean people should go about losing money in the hope that a poor person might find it. So too, a person doesn’t have to pass up on something that he’s entitled to in the hope that a needier person might get it. However if they do, and a needy person gets it, they’ll get credit. So each person can decide if it’s worth the chance.

By the way, what chesed is done by passing up on tax breaks? That Uncle Sam should have extra money??

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  • Very interesting answer based on tzedaka and a wonderous principle, thank you! COVID stimulus packages come to mind for your latter question. Not everyone who was entitled actually needed it - their parnasa was fine during lockdown, but they took it anyway. That meant the program ended sooner/more tax or debt had to be taken (at least, based on the way it worked here in the UK). If less people claim entitlements they don't need, as a whole the world would be a much better place, right? Corruption can uproot this but the corruption in the west isn't infinite, even if higher than should be.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Sep 5, 2023 at 15:59
  • Regarding the quote ("כדאיתא בתוספתא דפאה..."): (1) If it starts with "כדאיתא בתוספתא דפאה", you're not actually quoting the Tosefta on Peah. Why not credit your actual source for this insight? (2) The bracketed part, "(ת״כ דבורא דחובה פרשתא י״ב סי' י״ג)", suggests that the idea is not actually in Tosefta on Peah, but in Sifra Dibbura d'Chovah 12:13 which says: "רבי אלעזר בן עזריה אומר: ... היתה סלע צרורה לו בכנפיו ונפלה ממנו, מצאה העני ומתפרנס בה, הרי הכתוב קובע לו ברכה כשוכח עומר בתוך שדהו."
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 5, 2023 at 16:17

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