18

Great question. A writer from the Houston Community Kollel has surveyed historical answers to this famous question (here) (1) The great medieval commentator Rashba (1235-1310) in his Responsa (1:18) offers the following rule: Any mitzvah which is not entirely in the hands of the one performing it, as it requires the participation of another person ...


14

Its a gemara in Kesuvos 68a its a statement of Rav Elazar : דאמר רבי אלעזר בואו ונחזיק טובה לרמאין שאלמלא הן היינו חוטאין [- שאנו מעלימין עין מן העניים אבל עכשיו הרמאים גורמים לנו - רש"י] בכל יום שנאמר (דברים טו, ט) וקרא עליך אל ה' והיה בך חטא Rabbi Elazar says let's go and thank the cheaters - without them we would sin [because we hide our eyes from ...


13

HaRav Eliezer Waldenberg zt"l has a famous piece in his Tzitz Eliezer (vol 16, siman 23). He notes that it is definitely a mitzvah but one is not obligated (and would in fact be forbidden, if it would cause a decline in health of the donor). He notes: מי שחפץ ברצון עצמו לתרום מדמו ומרגיש שלא יוזק מזה, מדת חסידות יש בזה, ואשרי חלקו מי שיוכל לעמוד בזה ...


11

I have a guess with no source (yet): The "own town" rule is a mechanism for making sure that no one falls through the cracks. If people donated based on some other criterion, let's say urgency of need, then, in the extreme, all donations in the world would go to the same starving town somewhere, and then would turn to the town that just got hit by a ...


10

R Abraham S. Abraham, the author of the Nishmat Avraham compendium of medical halacha, writes (vol 2, p. 346) Rav [Shlomo Zalman] Auerbach wrote to me that he also permits donating blood to the blood bank in Israel, for the donor performs a mitzvah of saving a Jewish life, even if does so only for the money. See also this detailed analysis by R Aryeh ...


9

The Ran1 (to Sanhedrin 56b) and Yad Ramah (Sanhedrin 57b) both believe that non-Jews are indeed obligated in the commandment to give charity. Although it is not listed in the "seven commandments" of Sanhedrin 56b, the Gemara clarifies one daf later that the list is only meant to include obligation to not do something, not positive commands. This would ...


8

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz discussed this in a tzedaka lecture; it's considered giving to charity, but at 90% the rate. If my legal work goes for $100/hr, and I did an extra hour of work, I'd make $100 of which I'd keep $90 and give $10 to tzedaka. So if instead I donate an hour of my legal work to charity, it's only $90 I'd be seeing in my wallet, hence if ...


8

There are plenty of references. I will bring but a few: In the Gemara (Yerushalmi, 3, 8) we find that this day has special power. There Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi says Amalek would practice sourcery ... not easily would someone fall on his birthday ... what did Moses do? he suffled the fortunes... (and many Mefarshim provide insight on that Gemara, amongst ...


7

Here's a list of Jewish organizations I donate online to with some regularity. I spend about 10 minutes checking out each one for reliability and quality and usefulness of work before giving a donation; feel free to do more. With some exceptions, this list focuses on donations to the Jewish poor and needy rather than cultural institutions, mainstream ...


7

Let's assume the people eating it are all non-Jews. At that point the only problems (that I can think of) are: cooking meat and milk together, and benefiting from meat-and-milk-cooked-together. If you're just doing the dessert, cleanup, or setup, I can't see that as tangible benefit from the main course. (Feeding it to your dog when you would otherwise ...


7

According to R' Herschel Schachter, the designation of "your city" for this purpose is based on association, rather than geography. In an interview on the topic with Jewish Action magazine, he said: However, aniyei ircha does not refer to the poor people of your city literally. I live in Manhattan. Are all the poor people in New York considered my aniyei ...


7

To summarize the comments (as well as my personal experience): It is required to burn (or otherwise destroy) a small amount of Chametz (see here for some technical stuff). Chametz that is typically burned is a small, token amount of opened food. For many (if not most) people that I see, it is ten small croûtons or bread pieces that are customarily ...


7

If your parents are in need then give them because Tzedaka is a Mitzva to everyone, but even if they dont need so much helping them is still a mitzva see Isiah 58,7: הֲלוֹא פָרֹס לָרָעֵב לַחְמֶךָ, וַעֲנִיִּים מְרוּדִים תָּבִיא בָיִת, כִּי תִרְאֶה עָרֹם וְכִסִּיתוֹ* *וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לֹא תִתְעַלָּם Give to the hungry your bread, bring the poor to your ...


6

This is a very interesting and difficult question not addressed directly by any of the many sources I consulted. So here are a few relevant sources I collected on the topic. It emerges that you do not have an obligation to research the credentials of a random collector, neither are you obligated to give him much. At the same time you cannot turn him away ...


6

HaRav Yosef Hayim of Baghdad writes in his Ben Ish Ha'i (Parashat Re'eh, Note 17): יש נוהגין לעשות בכל שנה את יום הלידה ליו"ט וסימן יפה הוא וכן נוהגים בביתנו There are those who have the custom to make their day of birth into a "Yom Tov", and it is a good sign, and such is the custom in our home Note 17 continues with the nusahh he would say ...


6

We see in the Gemara (Kesuvos 68a): היינו דאמר רבי אלעזר בואו ונחזיק טובה לרמאין שאלמלא הן היינו חוטאין בכל יום שנאמר {דברים טו-ט} וקרא עליך אל ה' והיה בך חטא Rabbi Eliezer says "let us find some good attribute of liars for if it were not for them we would be sinning every day". Rashi explains Rabbi Eliezer's statement: היינו חוטאים: שאנו ...


6

There are Orthodox Rabbis in London who wear poppies and go along to Remembrance Ceremonies and even recite prayers in them. The poppy is not a form of idolatry but is instead a symbol of "respect" to the soldiers who gave up their lives to protect us. In the United Kingdom, this is particularly relevant, as we are remembering soldiers who fought in World ...


6

On "Shrub is burning in Kotzk" (סנה בוער בקוצק), The Kotzker also gives the answer to his still-shocked teacher: "The Israelites did tzadaka (charity) with Da'at (knowledge)"


5

I think the prohibitions on cooking or deriving benefit would not apply at all when either the meat or the milk comes from a non kosher species of animal (e.g. if the meat was pork), which might be the case here. See Milk and Meat of Non-Kosher Animal Species .


5

There is no maaser on non-monetary gifts according to R Tzvi Spitz, R Moshe Feinstein, R Moshe Heinemann, Chazon Ish (all four cited by R Avrohom Chaim Feuer in The tzedakah treasury pp. 136-7). Some disagree, e.g., Rabbeinu Yonah, R Shlomon Zalman Auerbach both cited by R Shimon Taub in The laws of tzedakah and maaser Others hold that only if one would ...


5

Rabbi David Feinstein rules that Maaser ksafim only comes into play after one pays all of his living expenses, including food rent tuition clothing etc. Whatever money is put away as extra is subject to the minhag we call Maaser Ksafim. Reb Elyashev has gone on record to say that paying for children's weddings is part of one's cost of living so all money put ...


5

Number 1 ( Agree to the parents' request and don't give ma'aser ). That's what Rabbi Dovid Feinstein told me. The reason he gave for this was that it is a present with a stipulation. He also said that if the gift is large, there is an assumed stipulation and one need not give. His mashal (example) was a car. I asked what's the smallest large amount one can ...


5

The rabbinate is actually doing its best to not impose at all. There are many tithes separated from produce in Israel and the rabbinate, in certifying that given produce is kosher (if requested to do so by the grower), only removes those tithes which cannot be eaten nowadays, namely, Terumah Gedolah and Terumat Maaser (totaling about 1% of the crop), plus in ...


5

This is not so simple. In a nutshell your family and the local poor take precedence for at least a significant part of your tzedaka budget. Only part (for quantification see below) of your tzedaka budget can go to the needy of Israel if there are many local needy to support. The justification to support the needy of Israel when not living there comes from ...


5

Yes you can donate money now and deduct it from future ma'aser "obligations". I found it clearly adresed by dinonline The Noda Beyehuda [volume 1 siman 73] rules that one may give preemptive maaser on money he has not yet earned and deduct it from later earnings. This is quoted in Pischei Tshuva [Y:D 249]. This is also the opinion of the Chasam ...


5

From Yiddish Word of the Week here: Etymology: There seems to be a dispute about etymology here. Leo Rosten, in his Joys of Yiddish (p. 296; unfortunately not available online), argues that it derives from the Polish word for can, “puszka.” Thus, a pushke is simply “a little can or container kept in the home, often in the kitchen, in which money to be ...


5

The Biur Halacha 695:4 brings this question and quotes Rabbi Akiva Eiger. Rabbi Akiva Eiger qoutes the Turei Even on Megillah 7b which addresses this exact question. It seems like it can go both ways, but no definitive ruling is given. With regards to chavilos chavilos the Rivevos Ephraim 2:193 explains how there is no issue with chavilos chavilos by ...


5

I can think of two ways that one could have fulfilled the mitzvah of tzedaka back then. If one knew someone who needed to travel away from where klal yisroel was encamped and since the manna would have spoiled the next day (and they wouldn't get manna where one was travelling on the way) so giving them some money would be considered tzedaka see shulchan ...


5

See Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner(Vozner) in his Shevet Halevi who says definitively that it is a mitzvah. See as well Rav Avraham Abraham in his Nishmas Avraham(Vol. 3(Even Haezer), Siman 80, Os 1) who writes that it is a mitzvah to give bone marrow for a bone marrow transplant, he quotes his response with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who agrees. I assume the same ...


4

About 10 Years ago, I asked a similar question to a posek by the name of Rabbi Yonasan Wiener in Jerusalem and he replied "if you can't make ends meet, you're not obligated in maaser." However, I read in a book on Rabbi Pinchas Sheinberg that a couple with a very difficult financial situation went to ask him whether they were obligated to take maaser. He ...


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