Tzedakah L’Shma

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    Sick of Luxury Tzedakah Raffles? Oorah Auction Offers ‘L’Shma’ Option

    Every year when Oorah sends out its Chinese Auction booklet, a few letters come in to our office decrying the promotion of luxury items to the Jewish community.

    One auction catalog recipient in Mattersdorf, Israel, wrote a few years ago to complain that the very materialism he had left America to avoid had tracked him down, thanks to the Oorah catalogue that landed in his mail box.

    Criticisms come in two forms: First, the full-color, glossy photos of luxury prizes whet the appetite for items that are out of many people’s financial reach, fostering frustration and discontent. Secondly, the constant parade of luxury items by this and many other tzedakahs trains people away from giving for the sake of the mitzvah.

    In fact, one noted fundraiser commented that if tzedakahs could attract donations with nothing more than a simple letter, they would need half the donors to attain twice the totals. The reality, however, is that a simple letter doesn’t do the trick, and the result is that tzedakahs are locked into a battle of glitz, with ever-glossier auction brochures displaying ever-costlier merchandise.

    Oorah sees this option as a great chinuch opportunity for parents. They can flip through the pages and look at the prizes with their children, and then explain why they are taking the option of giving their donation l’shma. Will people take the option, or decide that for the same $5 donation, they might as well have a chance at getting something in return?


    As far as I see giving tzedaka to Oorah you win whether you are chosen for one of the prizes or not. Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis chesed organizations around the world need to find new and exciting ways to get the attention of potential benefactors.

    May we see the end to this crisis very soon with the coming of Moshiach who we desperately need.

    brought to you on behalf of Olam Hatorah


    I htink I’d rather put my $5 in a box where I can win a beatiful set of dishes or the like to be honest. But the truth is, it’s a pity that it got so out of hand. A chinese auction should be a nice place with some cakes and cookies set up on the side along with some drinks and have a bunch of nice prizes. But maybe instead of being able to win a luxiurious dining room set, a simple bedroom set should do, no?


    We donated money to Oorah. And yes, we put $15 into the L’shmah category (more out of guilt than anything else).

    Then again, some of those items we really could use…like mortgage payments, a car etc…

    To be fair though, I donate plenty of money l’shma. I would donate to Oorah without the fancy catalog.


    I laugh when I see pple at auctions actually planning where in their homes they will store that prizes that they are entering for. There are halachos when using maaser for an auction if u win the prize. Ask ur LOR.


    Do you think that every yeshiva that has a chinese auction should have a “l’shma” catagory?

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