Tzedaka for the Rich

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  • #595776

    Grandmaster
    Member

    There is a halacha that if a rich man becomes poor, the community must support him to live at his previous standard of living. How far does this go? If someone earning $250,000 year, and living a lifestyle commensurate with that income, c”v suddenly loses his job but regains employment at a salary of $100,000 a year, must the community provide him tzedaka to make up the difference in accordance with the aforementioned halacha?

    #751099

    deiyezooger
    Member

    ???’ ??? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?????

    #751100

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Practically speaking, it won’t happen. No tzedaka organization has enough funds to cover every need, especially these kind of expenses, so they’ll first allocate funds for those whose needs are more basic. This halacha is still very relevant though; if someone owns a nice house but is now faced with little or no income, he will still receive tzedaka money even if he does not sell his house. (Whether he should sell or not is a different issue.)

    #751102

    Grandmaster
    Member

    (Whether he should sell or not is a different issue.)

    Why would you even consider the possibility that he should sell his house, considering the aforementioned halacha that he should be supported to live at his original standard of living?

    #751103

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I vaguely recall that this only applies if you were born into the lifestyle, but if you acquired it yourself, it is too bad.

    #751104

    aries2756
    Participant

    Grandmaster, this is a very unusual question to be asking but lets look at the scenario. A very wealthy person who is a baal tzedakah cares about other people and does not want them to suffer and generously shares his wealth to help others. KEEP IN MIND that a wealthy person NEVER gives only 10% but usually gives generously so he goes above and beyond what is required of him.

    NOW he is on the receiving end. Obviously a test for the community. How far will the community go to show Hakaros Hatov to the individual. He is NOT begging for mercy, the onus is on the community because it is a halacha. So would YOU want to see him suffer and move out of his home, the home that so many knocked on the door with their arms outreached? Would you want him to feel different in the eyes of the community than when he was on the top? Does he deserve to be lifted up at his lowest point or should the community decide that he doesn’t deserve to live like a king because HE can no longer afford it. That is the interesting question since when he WAS living like a king the community expecting him to share his wealth with them and help them as if he was a leader and head of the community. Is it his heart, chessed and generosity that made him the KING? Or was it only his bank account?

    #751105

    Grandmaster
    Member

    I agree with you aries2756. So does halacha.

    #751106

    2qwerty
    Participant

    We might have an obligation to help the rich person but the rich person has an obligation (for lack of a better word) not to accept tzedokah. So if he wants to take until he gets back on his feet that’s fine but he can’t expect it to go on forever and he should sell his house eventually.

    #751107

    Grandmaster
    Member

    Considering the aforementioned halacha, I don’t see why the formerly rich person would have any more “obligation” to not accept the tzedaka than a poor person should not accept tzedaka.

    #751108

    aries2756
    Participant

    2qwerty, just as he gave to the community before, he would NEVER want to be a burden to the community at any time that is because his generosity doesn’t stop just because his luck has turned. His heart is still always going to be “gold” and his spirit is always going to be one with Hashem. So if the community does what they are supposed to do, HE too will do right by the community.

    #751109

    Josh31
    Participant

    “???’ ??? ????? ???? “

    Modern day practical approach would be for a friend to quietly loan him an extra Lexus he has on hand.

    #751110

    2qwerty
    Participant

    gm,

    Both of them have the same obligation of not accepting tzedokah but the practical difference is that only one of them has another option.

    #751111

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Grandmaster,

    Let me get this straight. You don’t understand why it is praiseworthy to not accept tzedaka if possible?

    #751112

    ZachKessin
    Member

    Why would you even consider the possibility that he should sell his house, considering the aforementioned halacha that he should be supported to live at his original standard of living?

    I would guess because he can no longer afford to keep it and if he doesn’t the bank will foreclose on it.

    Personally I’m not rich but I do OK. I had a rough patch last year and a few people helped us out. I kind of felt really bad about it because even with all that was going on I was pretty sure I was still making more than one of them. Mostly we got a lot of moral support, which really did help up keep going.

    #751113

    Grandmaster
    Member

    DY:

    Reread the comment, and notice any more “obligation”. 1) The response was to it being allegedly an “obligation” to decline, not merely “praiseworthy”. 2) The response (“any more”) was that it is the same praiseworthiness for the formerly rich fellow to decline tzedaka as for the traditionally poor fellow to do so.

    2qwerty:

    Even a poor fellow often can make do without tzedaka. It indeed may be a hardship*, but unless he literally has no bread and water or shelter (in which case I agree with you) he can survive.

    * much as it is to a formerly rich fellow to live far below the standards he is used to – which is the reason for the aforementioned halacha.

    #751114

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Doesn’t tzedaka for the rich have other stipulations? I thought it was only while his situation wasn’t known?

    #751115

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    GM:

    I was responding to this post:

    Why would you even consider the possibility that he should sell his house, considering the aforementioned halacha that he should be supported to live at his original standard of living?

    Now you are apparently agreeing that it’s a worthy possibility to consider, and even follow through on.

    #751116

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Grandmaster, what the gemara means is if there are unlimited or adequate funds, then there is a theoretical obligation to support the rich man at his previous standard of living. However, if funds are limited, obviously seichel tells us that one must triage the cases based on the funds available. Giving the rich man money to drive a Lexus would not seem to override the need to give a poor man money so he does not get put out on the street, or have to take his kids out of yeshiva and put them into public school.

    One always needs to look at the big picture.

    #751117

    Grandmaster
    Member

    If available communal Tzedaka funds are insufficient and unable to cover all halachicly required tzedaka necessities, I don’t disagree that triaging is necessary, with someone lacking bread and water taking priority over someone who lost his affluence.

    #751118

    deiyezooger
    Member

    So what if the formerly rich person was not giving to the comunity and now he became poor will the halacha change?

    #1253109

    Joseph
    Participant

    DaasYochid, do you disagree (as a practical matter) with Yekke’s point in the other thread regarding די מחסורו אשר יחסר לו?

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/hotels-for-pesach-crdsyac/#post-1252946

    Yekke: There are people who can’t afford it. While they once lived life in a lap of luxury, they have unfortunately fallen upon hard times, and money is tighter than it was. So when they struggle to continue living the luxuries they always had, you get upset. They don’t need this, why can’t they live like the rest of us?

    If you look at Hilchos Tzdakah, you’ll find an interesting thing. The obligation of Tzdakah is די מחסורו אשר יחסר לו. If you look here, you’ll find that you are equally obligated to provide basic necessities to a pauper as you are to provide luxuries to a man who was once rich. You must provide a horse for him to ride upon, and a slave to run in front honouring him. Surely he doesn’t need a horse? The slave running in front is just his own Ga’avah; it doesn’t make his journey any more comfortable? Why don’t we tell him to tone down his lifestyle now, he’s living off tzdakah – he doesn’t need such a fancy car!

    The Halachah is not like that. The luxuries of a man who once could affort these things are necessities. Just because you don’t need it, and just because he once upon a time didn’t need it – suddenly, when he doesn’t have the money any more, the upperclass lifestyle is something he desperately needs.

    The Torah doesn’t tell him that such an upperclass lifestyle is assur when there are others struggling to put food on the table. The VERY SAME chiyuv you have to feed those struggling with food obligates you to support his extravagantly luxurious lifestyle.

    #1253418

    Chortkov
    Participant

    Joseph: A disclaimer – I have not learnt Hilchos Tzedak (other than a quick perusal); I did not intend to make a halachic argument. My point was just that if we are mechuyav to reinstate what we consider to be an unnecessary lap of luxury, we certainly should fargin the lifestyle. It was a response to the CRDSYAC (CR Defend Something You’re Against Challenge), so I didn’t give it much thought.

    #1253439

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    My position hasn’t changed since we debated this six years ago. It would be praiseworthy for him to make Pesach at home.

    #1253446

    Joseph
    Participant

    The question is whether, as Yekke said there is, there’s an equal halachic obligation for us as a klal to make the former super-rich family who has fallen to become only upper middle class whole again to bring them back to their very high standard of living that they’ve been accustomed to for many years, as much as we are obligated to make a real pauper have enough tzedaka to keep a roof over his head.

    (Obviously anyone would be praiseworthy to forgo tzedaka. Whether the guy who can’t keep up with the finance payments on his oldish Ford Grand Caravan that he carpools the kids with [maybe he can arrange alternative carpool arrangements] or the guy who can no longer keep up with the maintenance costs of the Rolls Royce he’s been accustomed to driving for the last 30 years.)

    #1253456

    Joseph
    Participant

    Yekke, your updated input is noted. (My question to DY still applies.)

    #1253476

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    No, that wasn’t the question. I’m not arguing on the din of די מחסורו, but as a practical matter, as discussed six years ago, it’s not as easy to collect tzedakah for what is considered a luxury for most, and it is more basic mentchlichkeit for someone to try to live without them than it is for someone to live without what is generally considered basic needs.

    #1253478

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Very few tzedakahs can afford to pay for someones $10,000 a month mortgage along with their yearly trip to Israel in First class stating at the Waldorf Astoria

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