Thursday, October 26, 2006


(Picture courtesy of

Online banking has many fantastic advantages. The opportunity to pay bills via one's computer is extremely convenient and it also cuts down on the need to spend money on postage stamps. Last week for the first time, I used my bank's online service to send tzedakah to Eizer L'Shabbos.

After reflecting on this new way of sending money, I reconsidered using the computer to give tzedakah since it prevents me from using each check as an opportunity for teaching my children.

My four year-old daughter immediately asks me who I am giving tzedakah to whenever she sees me get out the checkbook. Each time, I explain to her that I am sending money to the "nice man" to help him give out more boxes of food to poor people in Eretz Yisroel. She asks to lick the envelope, seals it, and then takes pride in doing her part in the mitzvah.

I realized that all of this would be lost if I simply used the computer and sent money with the click of a mouse. Children need something tangible in order to understand. For this reason, I am also grateful that Eizer L'Shabbos uploads videos of their activities on their website. This enables me to show my children exactly how the money we send is used.

G-d willing, one day I will be able to take them to see this firsthand with their own eyes; allowing them to understand that it is our obligation to use the money Hashem gives us to help others who are in need.


Those wishing to help Eizer L'Shabbos can send their tax-deductible donations to:

Eizer L'Shabbos
5014 16th Avenue, Suite 319
Brooklyn, NY 11204

Those wishing to contribute by credit card can do so by calling (917) 499-7760


UPDATE: I spoke with Rabbi Rosenberg on Tuesday afternoon and he is now at home in Tsfat in bed recuperating after being hospitalized for "royz" (cellulitis) in his leg. He still continues to take calls from people in need and is doing his best to arrange to get food packages out to people.

Rabbi Rosenberg told me that Eizer L'Shabbos is still trying to recover $20,000 in debt that the organization sustained as part of their Sukkos campaign. He also wanted me to remind readers that they can sponsor a small family's Shabbos meals for $50, and a large family's Shabbos meals for $100. Additionally, yearly sponsorship for a small family amounts to $2,600, and $5,200 for a large family.


At October 26, 2006 at 8:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger Akiva said...

Your post related a question I've been wondering about, perhaps someone here knows...

In the mitzvah of meiser sheni, we transfer the kedusah of the meiser to a coin. Just as trumah is holy and can only be eaten by the kohein, no substitutions allowed, meiser is as well, though substitution is allowed.

Substitution, however, involves a physical object. If I empty and count my tzedakah box and substitute a check, which I then send to the charity organization, seems straightforward.

But if I do the same thing and then go to the charity's web site, use my credit card and make an online payment in the amount, the charity has certainly received the value but there is no physical object involved in the transfer, no substituted physical object that moves from my possession to the possession of the charity in conveying the value.

While ASJ makes a nice chinuch point about using a checkbook, with older children they can see me go to the web site and understand (somewhat) credit card value. But by having eliminated the physical substitution, are we breaking the physical custody chain and thereby actually loosing part of the mitzvah?

At October 26, 2006 at 10:12:00 AM EDT, Blogger Bob Miller said...

If Person A prays for Person B and HaShem then sends Person B some needed money or other assistance, we don't have a physical custody chain either, but so what?

At October 26, 2006 at 10:19:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Great lesson.

At October 26, 2006 at 3:18:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Binyomin told me about good developments in Tzfas. Yoyona Shneck (son of Reb Yakov Shneck, one of the prominent chasidim in Breslover Kehilo in Tzfas) opened a Yiddish cheyder there. Until now, Breslov didn't open up a cheyder in Yiddish (and this was going on for almost 30 years!). At last this situation is changed. Really he didn't open a cheyder on empty space. He took over another cheyder which wasn't managed good and decided to close down. Now Breslover kehilo in Tzfas will have their own cheyder in Yididh.



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