Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Losing Part Of The Mitzvah?"

(Painting by Talko)

Akiva commenting on 39¢:

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 losing part of the mitzvah?


At October 26, 2006 at 11:22:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reb Simple Jew,
The difference is that a hekdesh object is itself sanctified and therefore requires chilul, transfer of that sanctity to some other object (ma'aser sheni may not be exactly the same, but you get the idea), but tzedaka does not sanctify the money pledged - it is simply a financial transaction. If someone steals from hekdesh (again, that is an easier example to use than ma'aser sheni for technical reasons) they violate an issur of m'eila; if someone steals tzedaka funds it is a regular issur of gezel.

At October 26, 2006 at 11:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Akiva and ASJ:
Money, coins or bills, are only representative. In fact, a dollar bill [supposedly] is representative of a certain amount of gold in the US Treasury. A check represents a certain amount of money, so does a credit card, so does an electronic transfer. It's all representative, not the real thing! How does putting a check in the mail translate into a PHYSICAL transfer? Beats me!

At October 26, 2006 at 4:44:00 PM EDT, Blogger Special Ed said...

I don't think whether you use a check, or cash, or credit card or rolled coins matters; but chazal tells us "Lfum Tzaarah Agrah." The reward is proportianate to the effort you put into the mtizvah. Wirting the check and spending the extra 39 cents on a stamp is that much more a tircha to you, and will get you that much more reward in Olam Haba


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