"borrowing" from a pushka?

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  • #599275

    LemonySnicket
    Participant

    Sometimes when I’m strapped for cash i’ll “borrow” from a tzedaka box at home. Obviously it’s not the best thing to do but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. I always vow I’ll re-pay it and sometimes I add a little extra. The money is what I put in originally. Is this an aveira? would adding extra be considered ribbus?

    The pushkas don’t get collected for a while anyways and I’d pay it all back by the time the collector comes, so no harm no foul, right? RIGHT?? (please note that I’d never “borrow” from a public tzedaka box like in a Shul)

    #808848

    For an actual psak you should go elsewhere, but here is how I see it:

    Another point – if you’re a shomer of the money and you’re allowed to borrow it, does that make you a shomer sochor with the additional responsibility? If you do indeed borrow it, are you then a shoi’el with the even greater level of responsibility?

    (Also, I don’t know if the halochas with being shomer tzedaka money differ from watching a friend’s money as far as shomer chinam etc.)

    #808849

    RSRH
    Member

    NOT A PSAK, BUT A SLIGHTLY INFORMED OPINION:

    It really depends on what the pushka is for, and how great your need is for the cash. If the pushka is a “general” tzedaka box – i.e., you put money in periodically, and when it’s full you decide who to give the money to – the money there is generally designated for aniyim (assuming you haven’t generally designated it for institutions or yeshivos). At the moment you are strapped for cash – i.e., you need some cash, the bank is closed, you can’t get to an ATM before you need the cash, ect. – you have what to rely on in saying that at that moment you are an ani, and may take tzedaka for yourself, all the more so because you intend to pay it back shortly. Of course, this would depend on how great your need for the cash really is – but that is something you can best judge for yourself. Bottom line, if you really do need the cash right away, you would have what to rely on to consider yourself an ani and take it, especially as only a very short term loan.

    BUT, if the tzedaka box in question is designated for a specific cause – i.e., a yeshiva or some other organization sent you a pushka, or you mentally designated your home pushka to go to a particular cause – likely that cause gains rights to that money as soon as you give it. They could, in theory, sue you in beis din if you failed to give the money to them and instead gave it to another tzedaka, and therefore, it would be hard to find a basis for you to use that designated money, even if you could be considered an ani due to your present need for quick cash. One solution might be to write a check for whatever you take and place the signed check in the pushka – the signed check represents your obligation to pay no less than does the dollar bill in the box, and might solve the problem.

    Interesting question. Other thoughts: What do you do if you do borrow the money from the pushka and the value of the money appreciates or depreciates before you replace it? What if you realize some sort of profits from the borrowed money – i.e., you use it to buy a lottery ticket and win – was the borrowed money yours because at the time you took it you were an ani, or was it the tzedaka’s money that was lent to you? Lots of possibilities.

    #808850

    metrodriver
    Member

    RSRH; One other point. On a general fund Pushka (Not designated to a specific Tzedakah) if you need the funds on an urgent basis and have no other funds at this time, even if funds are available to you on a later date, you are not “M’chuyav” (Al Pi Halacha) to return the funds. Because you are considered an “Ani” (Poor) at this time. This is a Halacha in Hilchos Tzedakah.

    Another point, on the OP’s question; “Ribbis” (Charging interest) is permitted for a Tzedakah fund. BTW. A manager/trustee of an orphans’ fund is allowed to collect interest, too.

    #808851

    Tomche
    Member

    RSRH: Using your logic of him being an ani to borrow from a “general” psuhka, not only shouldn’t he have to pay back quickly, lchoireh he shouldn’t have to pay it back at all.

    #808852

    RSRH
    Member

    Metro: Quite right. I was talking in terms of the OP borrowing the money from the pushka because if he did that there would be more room to be meikil in deciding whether or not he can consider himself an ani at that time. Always good to be mitztareif the snifim l’kula and cover as many bases as possible. But yes, if he did take the money as pure tzedaka, certainly he would have no obligation to return it.

    #808853

    metrodriver
    Member

    RSRH; The discussion is tailor made for me. I’ve gone through the exact situation that the OP (Lemoysnicket) describes. When I (rarely) borrow from the Pushka, I always make an effort to return the funds. Otherwise, (If funds are not returned or taken for personal use) we are fooling ourselves. Some people use these funds for paying tuition or purchasing lottery tickets.They even quote famous Dayanim who permitted such use. But this is not called Tzedakah.

    #808854

    kylbdnr
    Member

    I never thought borrowing from the pushka would be a problem. I always give it back that day or the next day.

    #808855

    minyan gal
    Member

    I have a “general” tzedaka box that I put money into every week. I would not take out money from it if I were short because I always keep “other” money in the house. However, when I make a donation to a charity over the phone using my credit card, I will often take that amount of the tzedaka box.

    #808856

    old man
    Participant

    Disclaimer: This is my opinion, one may disagree with me.

    1. You may not take money out of the box, that money is not yours once it goes in.

    2. You may change your mind as to where the money will go once it is in the box. But it may not go to you, it is not yours anymore.

    3. From now on, you may make a t’nai when putting money in the box. Say that this money is put away for any purpose that I so choose. It is then not tzedakah money yet. When you feel like giving the money, then give it to the tzedakah of your choice. If you need to “borrow” from it, you may. You may then choose to replace that borrowed money (it is yours and not really borrowed) or even add to it, that is up to you.

    4. You make make a general t’nai that from now on, you may borrow or otherwise use the money in the box until it is given to tzedakah, and that t’nai will remain in effect until you annul it.

    I would recommend renewing the t’nai every Rosh Hashanah.

    #808857

    cherrybim
    Participant

    We have a concept of “Zachin l’adom shelo b’fanav”, someone may acquire ownership an item for an individual, if it is to his advantage and even without his knowledge.

    When applied to this case of the tzedaka pushke, it seems to me that the intended tzedaka owns the money as soon as it is placed in the pushke, with the understanding that you will eventually forward the cash amount to the tzedaka entity.

    But it doesn’t have to be the actual money which was placed in the pushke, in fact, the tzedaka entity prefers that you send them a check instead of the actual cash.

    So it follows, I believe, that as long as you eventually give the tzedaka organization its money, you can go on leaving IOU’s in the pushke as a reminder of your obligation.

    #808858

    oomis
    Participant

    I was taught that even if you cheshbon Tzedaka for a specific purpose, you may change your mind and give it elsewhere, if needed. That said, if I have ever been “strapped for cash” in a moment and needed to “borrow” from the pushka, I wrote a check corresponding to that amount, and sent it out to tzedaka, knowing that the funds would be available by the time the check would be cashed by the party to whom I wrote it. I only keep a general tzedaka box in my home. When I want to donate to a specific place, I just send the check to them. Personally, I like to donate to Hachnossas Kallah, Tomchei Shabbos, and Hatzolah.

    #808859

    Obaminator
    Member

    Would there be any difference between putting a check for the money you took out or putting a binding “IOU” note?

    #808860

    adorable
    Participant

    didnt read the other posts here but I think if you write it down on a paper and put that into the box and then pay it back its fine. but when you pay the tzedaka box back you have to give some extra money for that reason- its not a bank

    #808861

    Abelleh
    Participant

    To the OP: This is actually discussed in Mesechet Arachain (around daf 20). I believe the Gemara forbids it on account of it being theft. However, it is possible that a gabbai may do this, though I do not recall the gemara perfectly.

    #808862

    real-brisker
    Member

    adorable – Its not a money changer either.

    #808863

    Abelleh
    Participant

    Some people said that if you write it down, that is OK. However the gemara that I quoted above does not think so. I don’t think you will find ANY halachick justification for what you are doing. More likely than not, you would also be over an isur midoriasah

    #808864

    cherrybim
    Participant

    “but when you pay the tzedaka box back you have to give some extra money for that reason- its not a bank”

    But it may be ribis.

    #808865

    adorable
    Participant

    no i can give them some money!

    #808866

    RSRH-

    Re: your case of someone taking the money as an ani and therefore not having to repay it – I believe that taking it whith that in mind may trigger a chiyuv of ma’aser on the money he takes, even if he later repays it in full.

    #808867

    metrodriver
    Member

    Cherybim; Ribbis for a Tzedakah is OK.

    #808868

    em0616
    Member

    I have heard of somebody who once got stuck in the middle of the night, with no money. He eventually found a shul, with a Meir Baal

    Haness pushka, and borrowed money from it, and when he got home, he retured the money to a Meir Baal Haness pushka there.

    #808869

    metrodriver
    Member

    em0616; My question is; How did he (your friend) gain access to the R’ Meir Baal Haness pushka in Shul???

    Also. A lesson learned; (Even) If you see someone “Breaking” into a pushka judge him “Benignly” (Give him the benefit of the doubt. Be Melamed Z’chus.) He may have run out of money, and will (Probably) return it.

    #808870

    em0616
    Member

    I think it was the shomer shabos shul in Boro Park, so it’s

    opened 24 hours a day, and most pushkas in shuls are opened,

    as people can take change from the money they put in.

    #808871

    metrodriver
    Member

    Wonderful story.

    #808872

    My Rabbi Meir pushka is a promise to pay when it gets full as I can only send the funds online.

    Therefore, if I need some gelt, which usually only happens for a rare Friday afternoon emergency because my local grocery doesn’t take MasterCard and I risk an ATM line that can push me past lichtbenschen since erev Shabbos is peak shopping time for non-Jews as well, I pull cash out and write down what I took or if I’m really out of time I shove the change from my purchase and the receipt into the box so I know what I took. Normally I replace it with more that what I pulled out.

    In the end, I usually round whatever is in the pushka way up anyway when I count it so it hardly matters.

    My local pushka does go to the shul/shul chessed as cash. I don’t use it for myself except to make “Chelm change” where I’ll take a big bill and change it for far less in smaller ones because I need change and I’d rather give tzedoko than buy something I don’t need just to break a big bill.

    #808873

    metrodriver
    Member

    600 Kilo Bear; You are a baal Madrega in Tzedaka. But there is another way to look at this subject, or all Mitzvohs in the Torah. When Moshe Rabbeinu said to the Yidden “These are the Mitzvot, You (Plural) Shall not Add or Subtract of These”. ??? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ????. Anyway. The entire dissertation is too long for a CR post. The thrust of this P’shat (P’shetl) is, that if a person should add (Observe more Mitzvot, or in an enhanced manner.) they might one day subtract (Observe fewer Mitzvot. Therefore, the Torah admonishes us to leave the (Number of) Mitzvot intact. In other words. A person should treat the Tzedaka/Maaser fund –generally– as a business deal. Otherwise, if we always round upwards, we may sometimes permit ourselves to round in the opposite direction, too.

    #808874

    ๐Ÿ™‚ My situation is not normal. I am in a place where the only way I can remit funds to Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess is via card or PayPal. I can’t even use the currency in my pushka for Koilel Shomrei HaChoimos and it is just a box as I can’t get an official one sent here. The box is really there for the segula; if I’m panicking to find something I don’t have the time or presence of mind to log on and send the money that way. I was born on Rabbi Meir’s yahrtzeit and I give at intervals to Shomrei haChoimos and another Rabbi Meir anyway.

    Besides, I don’t think this has happened to me more than once over the past 4 years – it did happen this summer when I realized I had no bottled water for Shabbos.

    #808875

    cherrybim
    Participant

    “He eventually found a shul, with a Meir Baal Haness pushka, and borrowed money from it, and when he got home, he retured the money to a Meir Baal Haness pushka there.”

    Yes, but the “pushke owner” lost his commission. As with many pushkes, Meir Baal Haness pushkes are a source of income for many people who place them in stores, shuls, homes, shiva gatherings, etc. and are responsible for collecting the puske funds.

    #808876

    metrodriver
    Member

    cherrybim; It’s like a non-Jew (Noahide) who borrows $100 from one Jew and returned it to another Jew. Tzedaka is not (L’havdil) Hertz or Budget car rental.

    p.s.: Chapt(z) arain the comments on this topic. ‘Cuz I have a feeling that the mod(s) are going to close it soon.

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