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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 ...


13

Kesuvos 50a says that you should not give more than 20% in order not to become dependent on others. However Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 249:1 says that if you can afford it you may give more. אם ידו משגת יתן כפי צורך העניים. The Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 1, Siman 143 says that in actuality unless it is for Pikuach Nefesh not to give more than 20%.


13

Ramban on this verse says that the difference is that the gold from the kumazes was mixed with the rest of the gold, whereas the kiyor was made only from these mirrors, without any admixture of anything else. Moshav Zekeinim (a collection of commentaries from the schools of Tosafos) takes a slightly different tack: the kumazes were melted down and so were ...


11

http://halachafortoday.com/QandA4.aspx A: The Chazon Ish ruled that one who made up his mind to give Tzedaka to a certain poor person who was collecting, and then the poor person disappeared (similar to your case of the organization closing down) you can give the money to a different poor person (or in your case a similar institution) The best ...


11

R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes (in Iggeres Hateshuvah 3 and Iggeres Hakodesh 10) that the 20% limit applies only to a person who hasn't sinned, or who has done so but then fasted the prescribed number of fasts as atonement. For someone who is giving tzedakah to atone for his sins, though, there is no limit - just as a person will spend all he has in search ...


11

According to Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Seder Zerayim, Matnot Aniyiim 7:6 (or 7:5 depending on your version): עני שאין מכירין אותו, ואמר רעב אני, האכילוני--אין בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא, אלא מפרנסין אותו מיד. היה ערום, ואמר כסוני--בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא; ואם היו מכירין אותו--מכסין אותו לפי כבודו מיד, ואין בודקין אחריו. Translation from Chabad: When a ...


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

We do have indications that #1 could have happened. Doros Harishonim (vol. 3, pp. 139ff) understands Josephus (Wars 7:6:6) to be saying that after the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash, Vespasian nationalized all property belonging to victims of the war who had left no known heirs. (He also cites Eusebius (4:8 - should be 4:6:1) as saying that the ...


10

There is a concept from the Gemara (Pesachim 8a) known as שלוחי מצוה אינן ניזוקין - mitzva messengers are not harmed. When one is going on a trip that involves potential risks, some are of the custom is to give them a small amount of money to give to charity at their place of destination, so that they are effectively turned into "mitzva messengers" until ...


9

Dayan Raskin says that the following are deductibles: Any overheads that one must pay to earn one's money. For example, if one earned $100,000 but must pay rent, workers, wholesaler, insurance, etc., he doesn't really earn the full $100,000. Therefore, he can pay less Maaser. Taxes. If one earned $100,000 dollars, but pays $10,000 in taxes, he doesn't ...


9

Aruch HaShulchan 694:2 says that it is clear to him that it does not have to be given directly to the poor man, and can be given through a messenger (Shaliach) on Purim day. Nitei Gavriel Purim 68:6 mentions in the name of the Yad Aharon 694, Chug Eretz 15, and others that if money is given to a messenger (Shaliach) before Purim to give to the poor man on ...


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

According to here: [The twenty percent rule] applies only to someone whose income does not provide generously for his family. Someone who has a job or business that provides adequately for his family is permitted to give everything above his needs to tzedakah even if it is more than twenty percent of his income or his holdings. And from here: ...


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

I think (I'm not a rav) that the credit card charges is just like any other expenses the charity has. and you could deduct from ma'aser the full amount you gave. Of course it's better if you can give with a check. That would save them a few dollars, making a bigger part of your donation go to the charity, but only if you don't have a fundraiser picking it ...


7

There are many sources within Judaism that discuss the obligation to give charity, both in the individual and communal level. The principle Torah source on this issue is Devarim 15: (ז) כִּי יִהְיֶה בְךָ אֶבְיוֹן מֵאַחַד אַחֶיךָ בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ בְּאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ לֹא תְאַמֵּץ אֶת לְבָבְךָ וְלֹא תִקְפֹּץ אֶת יָדְךָ ...


7

Just to add to @DovF's answer. It would seem that making the person your emissary to do any mitzvah would accomplish the same thing, since the main thing is that, as your emissary, he is protected from harm. (see my answer here) However, Tzedakah has an added benefit of "saving one from death", as the Talmud (Shabbat 156B) tells us. So you get the double ...


7

Rambam is explicit and passionate on this topic (Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10) . . . NO!!!!: "Anyone who decides to be engaged in Torah [study] and not to work, and will be supported by Tzedaqa - this person desecrates God's name (Chillel et Hashem), degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of our faith, brings evil upon himself and forfeits life in Olam ...


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

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 ...


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

Rabbinical prohibitions of Ribbis do not apply where a charity's moneys are involved. Therefore,... someone who receives a free loan from a charity may subsequently choose to show his appreciation by making a donation to the charity. This is permitted even if the donation is clearly being offered in gratitude for the loan.[36] [36] Bris Yehudah 7:...


6

Rabbi Yitzhak Hirschfeld told me that if cash is given in lieu of a specific gift, because it is easier to ship or such, then that money too does not need to have maaser taken. He mentioned his mother wanted to send him furniture, but it was easier to mail a check and a note instructing him to buy furniture with the money.


6

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 ...


6

R' Zevin writes in "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales" page 291: R' Yehuda Tzvi of Rozla was once visited by a Chassid who gave him a kvittel (prayer request) with the accompanying traditional pidyon (money given to a Tzaddik). The Rebbe asked him (rhetorically) how he, the Rebbe, was allowed to receive a pidyon; after all, the money is only given on ...


6

Yoreh Deah 251:10: Someone who came and said "Feed me!" — we don't check after him if he is deceitful; rather, we feed him immediately. If he was naked and said "Clothe me!" — we do check after him if he is deceitful; but if we remember him, we clothe him immediately. There are your guidelines: For food, we don't check; for clothing, we check. No ...


6

Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 366:2 says that if someone stole money from an individual and does not know from whom he stole then he should use the money for the public good. Igros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat 1:88, says (in point 2) that one thing he can do is give the money to a mikve. Now, he does say (in point 14) that that should be done in a way that the ...


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