On Giving Charity

Being charitable, is a top priority in Judaism. We are always expected to open our hearts to the less fortunate and try to ease their burden. Particularly, Hashem has no patience for one who is cruel to the orphans and widows. The Torah says that such a person will have his own sons become orphans and his wife will become a widow.

Nowadays the situation with charity has gotten out of control. No longer is there shame in asking for charity. The Talmud speaks of knocking on doors for help as the last resort for one in a desperate situation. It was never meant to become a profession as it is today.

For this reason the late Rav Elyashiv זצ״ל paskened that the rules of the game have changed. He said that there are three levels of Tzedaka and each entitles us to a different response.

The first has to do with the beggar on the street. We do not have to give as they assume we are likely to say no. The second group is the Beit Knesset or Beit Midrash. For these people, we have the option of giving or not. But for the third group who knock on the door of our homes, we must respond with at least a small gift.

All of this came about when asking for charity became so common and has been abused. May we always open our hearts to the truly needy.

Yesterday was 41 with ספירת העומר