I was reading this excellent post about tzedakah and it seems that after a person is mafrish (designates monies as) tzedakah and the recipient disappears, he can give it to someone else. That made me think of the following question.

Can you donate Tzedakah with no-one in mind? Does there have to be a poor needy intended recipient at the time of the donation for it to be considered Tzedakah, or is there a theoretical pool of Tzedakah money where I can donate money to and then later decide who will get it?

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    wouldn't that be a rabbi's discretionary fund? You donate, he decides. 2 of the rambam's 8 levels of charity include where the giver does not know who receives the money so he couldn't have anyone in mind.
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:43
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    @Dan Sounds like an answer to me.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:56
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    more of a request for clarification -- I suspect that there is something more intended by the question. Based on an earlier question by Yehuda, it seems that his concern is about mentally dedicating money to the idea of charity without apportioning it physically to anyone. If I have a $5 in my wallet and think "I should give that away" does it have the status of tzeddakah even before I am aware of any place/person to give it to. Or maybe he is asking the more basic question. i don't know.
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 15:01
  • @Dan I am asking the more basic question, but in the case of the Rambam he knows he is giving it to an Ani, just not whom. Therefore he gives it straight into the reshus of an Ani. Here however, it is just going into his Tzedaka pile and at the moment is in the Reshus of whom?
    – Yehuda
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


Regarding Matanot Le'evyonim, gifts to the poor on Purim, Rabbi Yisroel Dov Webster (Dayan, Yeshiva Emek Halacha) writes as follows:

If there are no poor people in one’s community, the gifts which he usually gives should be set aside until he has an opportunity to give them to the poor.

  • the same thing is said in more primary sources, but I didn't look them up right now.
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 22:32
  • looks good to me so far
    – Yehuda
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 23:32

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