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The Tosefta in Peah (4:17) states that if a person says they will give tzedaka and then gives it, they receive divine reward both for the "saying" and for the "giving." And in a case where the person says they will give, but is not ultimately able to give, they nevertheless receive divine reward for having said that they will (I'm assuming here that the original "saying" was honest, ie the person truly wanted to / planned to give).

Why might this be? What is it about the mitzvah of tzedaka where a person might get divine reward just for saying they will do something, even in a case where they don't ultimately do it?

(I am understanding the case to be where the person did not make an explicit vow or neder to give, which would complicate matters).

  • Would you please [always] bring the original Hebrew text, not only your interpretation? – Al Berko Aug 5 '18 at 19:00
  • @AlBerko Thank you for the posting help. Is it better to do as the edited post is, with a link to the text, or to cite it in full in the post itself? – Greenberg Aug 5 '18 at 22:17
  • Better bring the whole text, to better understand the question in one place. Many people misunderstand Hebrew/Aramaic or bring other Rabbis interpretations as assumptions for their questions. – Al Berko Aug 5 '18 at 22:20
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The source is in Kiddushin 40a:

"מחשבה טובה מצרפה למעשה, שנאמר: אז נדברו יראי ה' איש אל רעהו ויקשב ה' וישמע ויכתב ספר זכרון לפניו ליראי ה' ולחושבי שמו, מאי ולחושבי שמו? אמר רב אסי: אפילו חשב אדם לעשות מצוה, ונאנס ולא עשאה, מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו עשאה.

The Gemara further teaches: The Holy One, Blessed be He, links a good thought to an action, as it is stated: “Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with the other, and the Lord listened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that fear the Lord, and that think upon His name” (Malachi 3:16). The Gemara explains: What is the meaning of the phrase “and that think upon His name”? Rav Asi said: Even if a person intended to perform a Mitzva but due to circumstances beyond his control he did not perform it, the verse ascribes him credit as if he performed the Mitzva, as he is among those that think upon His name.

Tell me if it is not self-explanatory...

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    Not quite self-explanatory. The question asked: What is it about the mitzvah of tzedaka where a person might get divine reward just for saying they will do something, even in a case where they don't ultimately do it? Your answer quotes a general statement that unperformed good deeds get rewarded. Is your answer that the question's apparent premise that this is unique to tzedaka is incorrect? If so, you should state that in your answer. If not, then you didn't address anything unique about tzedaka. – Alex Aug 5 '18 at 16:36
  • I agree with @Alex ; additionally, the Tosefta learns out from the phrase כי בגלל הדבר הזה, which further indicates that there is something particularly associated with speech and tzedaka... – Greenberg Aug 5 '18 at 22:19
  • @Greenberg It seems to be your interpretation. Until then - the general rule applies - why צדקה should be different? – Al Berko Aug 5 '18 at 22:23

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