Friday, December 05, 2008

"Understanding" A Person's Essence In 30 Seconds

Long Beach Chasid commenting on Naivete & Tzedaka:

It's really sad that we think we have the ability to understand a whole person's essence by the 30 seconds you scan them up and down with our eyes.

Who are you to decide if someone is an addict or what they are going to do with the money?

It's a dollar. Even if you gave the same guy a dollar every day you are allowed to handle money that still comes out to less than $300 a year.

I know for most people $300 is not even 50% of what you are required to give.

A Rebbe once said that Hashem makes dishonest beggers so we aren't held accountable for rejecting the honest ones.

Even if someone is an addict they have to at some point eat food or drink some water or they will die. Its not hard science.

So what if this addict needs some food this time around?

If you are all on such a high level that you can see the whole picture, that's amazing to have such holy insight into the world.

As for me, ill just risk giving a dollar and performing a mitzvah with Joy.

The Baal Shem Tov says that when you give tzeddakah you create the holy name of Hashem.

The Yud is the money The Hey is your hand the Vav is his arm extending and the Hay is his hand receiving.

If you see a homeless many run with joy to perform the mitzvah before he has to degrade his dignity in asking.

Who knows, that "crack addict" could be Elijah HaNavi.


At December 5, 2008 at 4:05:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Long Beach Chasid. Yes, there is a din about giving to an "ani hagun," a worthy person in need, as opposed to the opposite. However, the few cents or even a dollar given to a beggar on the street or elsewhere is not going to affect what the vast majority of us will give to tzedakah in the course of the year. More importantly, the Gemara in Gittin states that we should help the poor of other nations b'darkei shalom -- to promote peace and good relations with others. Even though it might be argued that by doing so, one is complicitous in all of the things they may do that are contrary to Torah and the Noachide laws, 1. darkei shalom is a big thing; and 2. the whole world is destined "l'ovdo shechem echad," to serve Hashem beside us. B'yameinu b'karov!

At December 5, 2008 at 6:13:00 PM EST, Blogger Yirmiahu said...

It is also recommended that one invite the poor to share a meal with them (Y.D. 251:6). Something tells me that, the notion of not judging a book by it's cover not withstanding, wihin 30 seconds you would determine you were not comfortable (nor obligated) to fullfill this aspect of the mitzvah with said idividual.

Baruch Hashem, the hungry have many options in our nation. I can say with confidence that panhandling is probably not the most effecient means of obtaining food. It seems to me that it may not be such a great idea to pacify our conscience by contributing to self destructive behaviour.

It is a difference of opinion whether the concept of darchei shalom is applicable in such a situation, and there are a number of other considerations such as whether giving cash "for food" is like giving food for which we don't investigate if the person is legit, or whether it is like someone who asks for clothes where we do investigate.

In the end it might be better to ask a posek than to treat something which is probably a halachic issue as a matter of opinion.

At December 6, 2008 at 12:22:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

danny siegel (tzedakah and mitzvah man - wrote this many many years ago:

"If you always assume the person sitting next to you is the Messiah, waiting for some simple kindness, you will soon come to weigh your words and watch your hands. And if the Messiah so chooses not to be revealed in your time, it will not matter."

arnie draiman


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