Giving Tzedaka to Beggars

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  • #608021

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    If you don’t know if the beggar is Jewish should you give tzedaka? Where I live on Main St in Flushing there is always a homeless man who sits outside Wassermans Grocery asking for tzedaka. It is very sad and I never know whether to give him or not. Does anyone know if this man is Jewish? Would it matter? What about when people ask to give tzedaka for families in Israel, should we give to them apposed to people who live in ones local town?

    #926717

    SaysMe
    Member

    this is something to ask your rav

    #926718

    TheGoq
    Participant

    I always gave him a little change I don’t think it matters if he is Jewish he is clearly in need and if you are at all concerned about what he will spend the money on then maybe its best if you don’t give him anything. I guess on some level I felt guilty walking out of the store with a shopping cart filled to the brim and not giving him something.

    #926719

    Toi
    Member

    maybe give him a loaf of bread.

    funny story- my mother once rolled down the window to give money to a non-jew who was collecting at a stoplight. he thanked her as the light turned green, and she pulled away and called “dont spend it on booze and cigarettes!”

    #926720

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    You are supposed to give to Eino Yehudies as well. Darkei Shalom applies more these days than it did in the past.

    Local Tzedaka comes before others. However there is a special significance to giving to the needy of Eretz Yisroel. It’s usually possible to do both.

    #926721

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    saysme “this is something to ask your rav”

    My rav does not know if he is a yid or not or what his matzav is. I am hoping someone here can tell me more about him. Does anyone personally know him?

    #926722

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    My rav does not know if he is a yid or not or what his matzav is.

    Your initial question was, If you don’t know if the beggar is Jewish should you give tzedaka?

    #926723

    Confucious
    Member

    Ask him if he is Jewish.

    As far as he being shomer shabbos, it seems you already know he is not. (Otherwise you would know his Jewish status.)

    #926724

    I am embarrassed to be associated religiously with someone who could ask this question (or answer it “ask a rov”).

    #926725

    walton157
    Member

    Forget about all these beggars religion. A beggar told my sister that he gets cable. HUH!!!!???? If you are THAT poor you shouldn’t be getting cable. I don’t give to people in the streets only to legitimate organizations that publish an annual report for every fiscal year and are a “real” 501(3)(c) and who also have a 990.

    #926727

    oomis
    Participant

    My son encountered someone in the street some weeks ago who approached him for money because, “I haven’t eaten anything for two days.” My son immeditaely offered to take him to a kosher deli nearby and get him a couple of sandwiches (or whatever he wanted) and some juice or soda. He also offered to take him to a grocery to get some basic supplies (bread, milk, peanut butter, cans of tuna, tissues) The man refused, said he only wanted the money. My son told him he does not carry cash around, but if he changed his mind and really was hungry, he would be happy to pay for the food by card. The man walked off in a huff.

    #926728

    Oomis: That’s a compelling point. I also once found evidence that there was someone who claimed to need money, but actually didn’t. I had no choice but to conclude that no one ever needs money.

    #926729

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    The general rule is that the poor of your own city come before the poor of elsewhere. Thus, if you have poor people locally, you should give to them before giving to people in Eretz Yisroel.*

    As for whether or not a particular beggar is Jewish, I will say this: We strive to emulate HKBH. By Him it says “Tov Hashem lakov v’rachamav al kol ma’asav.”

    The Wolf

    * That is, of course, assuming you don’t live in Eretz Yisroel.

    #926730

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    DaasYochid “Your initial question was, If you don’t know if the beggar is Jewish should you give tzedaka?”

    Yes my rav could tell me if I should give him based on a safek but I would prefer if someone told me what his situation was- then I could go to a rav and get a better answer. Therefore, ideally I would first receive the information about him here and THEN go ask my rav even though technically I could ask my rav regarding a safek.

    #926731

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    Veltz Meshugener “I am embarrassed to be associated religiously with someone who could ask this question (or answer it “ask a rov”).”

    Why? This man sits outside the store asking for money every single day for many years. It is a valid question to ask in my opinion.

    #926732

    Because he’s been collecting many years it matters whether he’s Jewish? I can’t imagine why that would be a relevant point.

    #926733

    Of course it is relevant. Your obligations are to Jews. And tzedaka only applies to them.

    #926734

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    It’s not about Jewish/not-Jewish but also many other factors and how much research one should do prior to giving tzedaka.

    #926735

    obviously. giving a goy tzedaka isnt a mitzva, its nice. a jew is obligated to give another jew tzedaka

    #926737

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    DR,

    If someone on this anonymous forum would tell you that this fellow is a lamed vovnik or a neo Nazi, you would believe it and act accordingly?

    #926738

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    Wolf,

    It happens to be that aniyei E.Y. have a special status. What happened to your long standing rule of AYLOR?

    Also, did you notice the paradox between the first paragraph of your post and the second? Does “Tov Hashem lakov v’rachamav al kol ma’asav” not apply to people from a different city?

    #926739

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    VM,I also once found evidence that there was someone who claimed to need money, but actually didn’t. I had no choice but to conclude that no one ever needs money.

    Maybe you should have concluded that you should do research before giving away significant sums of money, as I’m sure Oomis did.

    #926740

    That can’t be what Oomis meant because he/she wasn’t talking about significant sums of money.

    Someone who justifies not giving money to a beggar because it’s not a mitzvah to help non-Jews is a naval bir’shus haTorah.

    #926741

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    he/she wasn’t talking about significant sums of money.

    There are plenty of beggars around, and it adds up, especially for someone with very limited funds.

    Of course it is the proper thing to help non-Jews as well, but you’re being very loose with your terminology.

    #926742

    he/she wasn’t talking about significant sums of money.

    There are plenty of beggars around, and it adds up, especially for someone with very limited funds.

    Every red cent that you give to someone unworthy means that cent is not going to someone worthy.

    #926743

    DY and GAW, what you’re saying is completely illogical. When you give out large sums of money in small increments to different people, that is not the same as giving a large amount of money to one person or cause, and it wouldn’t be reasonable to do research for each individual person.

    I don’t care about the exact definition of my terminology. It takes a uniquely bad person to think that he’s being good by refusing to give charity to a non-Jew. It doesn’t matter to me if you find some mussar sefer who says that naval bir’shus haTorah is a specific halachic term of art – that’s the same type of self serving textualism that would lead someone to claim that giving charity to a non-Jew is a bad thing.

    #926744

    DY and GAW, what you’re saying is completely illogical. When you give out large sums of money in small increments to different people, that is not the same as giving a large amount of money to one person or cause, and it wouldn’t be reasonable to do research for each individual person.

    “When you give out large sums of money in small increments”. I assume you mean giving small amounts many times? Perhaps that is not what you should be doing. It certainly is not an excuse to not be Bodek as per Halacha.

    #926745

    My sister and i were on the train this week and a non Jew was collecting for his rent and food. He thanked me for the nickle which was the only change i had .He thanked me very nicely and said G-d bless you. So in essence it is making a kiddush Hashem, even if for a non Jew as was in the case after hurricane when us Yidden helped all who needed help. Tizku T’Mitzvos….one never know who may be Eliyahu Hanavi!!!

    #926746

    It takes a uniquely bad person to think that he’s being good by refusing to give charity to a non-Jew.

    I know, the Torah is so antiquated (CV). This is from the Rambam AZ 10:7, but it is one of the Mitzvos.

    ????? ???? ??? ????? ????, ??? ???? ??? ??? ????–????? “??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????, ?? ???? ??????” (????? ??,??): ??????, ?? ??????.

    What in the world was G-d thinking? Couldn’t He be somewhat more liberal?

    #926747

    MorahRach
    Member

    Yes he is Jewish. I live by there and I asked someone inside on Benjys. More often than not if you talk to him he asks you to go inside wassermans and buy him food or soup from Benjys.

    #926748

    Yserbius123
    Participant

    There is a group of Eastern European men who go around shuls in New York and New Jersey. They never have any haskomos and it’s patently obvious that they aren’t frum and I’ve heard some rabbonim put doubts on whether they are Jewish or just mooching off of Yiddishe chesed. Either way, I don’t ever give them anything.

    #926749

    besalel
    Participant

    What about the frum guy who stands in the old city begging for money with a sign but you see him roaming around with his galaxy s3? i think its better to give the parkinsons ridden goy who asks you for a hotdog from annies than the frum guy with the sign in the old city.

    #926750

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    DaasYochid “If someone on this anonymous forum would tell you that this fellow is a lamed vovnik or a neo Nazi, you would believe it and act accordingly?”

    If someone told me they personally know him and maybe said what he usually asks for or what he sounded like then yes I would believe them. I think your two examples are not based in reality.

    I am not talking about small sums of money. He asks for significant amounts of food and money (he likes food from the restaurants there and if you give him a dollar he will ask for more). He is also mentally ill and you cannot carry out a conversation with him.

    I don’t even know if he keeps the money that people give him. That is why I am asking for more info.

    #926751

    Confucious
    Member

    Instead of giving cash, take the poor goy into a restaurant and buy him food. This way you’ll know he truly needs and isn’t spending on booze and cigerettes (or worse.)

    #926752

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Be aware the many of the homeless and beggers suffer from mental illnesses

    #926753

    What about the frum guy who stands in the old city begging for money with a sign but you see him roaming around with his galaxy s3? i think its better to give the parkinsons ridden goy who asks you for a hotdog from annies than the frum guy with the sign in the old city.

    Agreed. At least by one of them you are doing Tikun Olam. (I don’t know what Annie’s is, but use “Yankels” as an example).

    #926754

    I will sometimes give food, rarely cash. The exception is if the person impresses me as someone real, or if I only have a nickel or something, there’s not much you can buy with a nickel.

    #926755

    ThePurpleOne
    Member

    daniel rosen-

    i know te specific man who ur talking abt and in case u x wana run into problems w tzedaka then go into wassermans and buy him a container of beets and a container of cucumber salad.. im not joking.. my mother always gives him money when we pass him and once x hav cash, only credit card so she asked him if we cud get him a/t from wassermans so thats what he sed and we got it and i put it into his bag ( cuz his hands r shaky )and gess what else was in there???!??!?! some more beets and cucmber salad!! so just ask him what he needs from the store and tell me if this is what he says!!

    #926756

    SaysMe
    Member

    DR- i meant ask a rav whether it matters, what to do in safek, and abt e”y vs your city. Those were all questions you posed also in your OP.

    Veltz meshugener- well, sooo sorry to be a cause of embarassment to you. Glad you feel we should all know better than our rabbanim who to give tzedaka to first

    Rav Avigdor Miller said to do like Ms Critique did actually. That when the non-jew comes collecting on the train, you should give a penny or a nickel and make a kiddish Hashem, but not to give more, for there are Jews who need the tzedaka as desperately.

    #926757

    Veltz Meshugenner: I don’t care if you come up with self-serving textualist arguments to avoid giving money to poor non-Jews, it’s still a bad thing to do.

    GAW: (Comes up with self-serving argument to avoid giving money to poor non-Jews.)

    #926758

    Veltz Meshigener pute his personal “feelings” above what the Torah tells us.

    #926759

    Veltz Meshugenner: I don’t care if you come up with self-serving textualist arguments to avoid giving money to poor non-Jews, it’s still a bad thing to do.

    GAW: (Comes up with self-serving argument to avoid giving money to poor non-Jews.)

    To quote Senator D’Amato: “Hopelessly liberal”.

    I assume you would say the same for ritual animal slaughter, genocide of Amalek, levirate marriage, and the quaint idea of giving the firstborn son double, while the girls get nothing. Just because you “think” it is “bad”. As I said earlier, your real argument is:

    What in the world was G-d thinking? Couldn’t He be somewhat more liberal?

    #926760

    BTGuy
    Participant

    In a shopping center where I live, there has been an increase in panhandling from people living in a wooded area.

    On the few occasions someone came up to me asking for a dollar or so, is there any way it would be better if I asked if they were Jewish and proceeded to not give them a dollar if they were not, rather than just reaching into my pocket and giving them a dollar or two without screening them first?

    #926761

    (as a side note, I used to be more on the side of the “less chumras” members of the board. These days, I’m finding myself agreeing to the “more Chumras” side more often than not. Perhaps it is because the discussions have been Halachic, not chumra.)

    #926762

    Daniel Rosen
    Member

    MorahRach: Do you know him personally or just heard that from someone else? Do you know if he keeps the money? Do you know how he gets there everyday and where he lives? Does anyone know?

    Yad Eliezer for instance says they take each and every person they give tzedaka to very seriously. I don’t know why we should not do the same. I think if this was done people would end up giving more tzedaka- not less.

    #926763

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    BTGuy,

    Absolutely not. We must be concerned about our fellow human beings, and that would be quite insulting, and cause hard feelings.

    #926764

    DaasYochid
    Participant
    #926765

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    (That was a self-serving textual argument.)

    #926767

    DY: Thanks.

    #926768

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    You’re very welcome. Thanks for letting me know you saw it.

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