This M.Y. answer states that if a beggar asks you for food, you do not investigate, but provide food. I assume that if you give cash so that the beggar can buy food, that is the same.

A few months ago, while I was shopping in my local market, a woman said she was hungry and asked if she could borrow my credit card so that she could buy food. I was astounded, as I never had this proposal before. I refused but gave her a few dollars.

2 concerns at the time:

1 - I was also very concerned about the security risk of her taking my account info or not even returning my card, itself. I'd like to be able to help a hungry person, but, do I need to implicitly trust in G-d and her that she won't abuse my credit card?

2A - She would probably spend far more than I can afford. Wouldn't it be more embarrassing to her if I held onto my card and then when she checked out I say, "Well, I can only pay this much?"

2B - I could tell the beggar in advance how much I can afford, and rely on her to buy only that amount. What if she says that would still leave her hungry?

2C - What if I don't have the time to wait for the beggar to shop for her items, and I don't have the time to buy them?

Is there any requirement under such circumstances to offer a credit card?

Incidentally, when I initially offered the cash, the woman refused and insisted on using my card. Only after I told her that there was no way I would do that, and she should take my money, did she accept the money!

  • is the assumption in your question that credit card is different than actual money? – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 24 '15 at 18:29
  • @Mefaresh For this question, yes, it is different. If I gave her cash, there are no security concerns. – DanF Jun 24 '15 at 18:32
  • I've unfortunately had a similar instance of chutzpah, where what I thought was going to be a minor transaction done as a favor ended up as a major imposition. I normally say "I'll buy you some food" when people ask for money, but no WAY would I give them free reign. A lunch is reasonable, grocery shopping isn't. Regardless, asking for a credit card to buy food is NOT the same thing as asking for food. – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 24 '15 at 18:33
  • but that isnt a tzedaka question. That is a security question. – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 24 '15 at 18:33
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    I believe Rabbi Schechter of YU is quoted as having ruled that it's assur to be stupid. – Loewian Jun 24 '15 at 21:55

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