Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tzedaka During Davening by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

5tjt   They come from beyond the borough and enter into local shuls to collect Tzedakah.  Are there halachic guidelines and protocols as to when they can collect during Davening and when they cannot?  Is it permitted during Psukei D’Zimra or chazaras HaShatz?  Is it forbidden or permitted to give during these times?  The issue is the matter of much shul conversation debate.  So, at the very least, an article on the topic could lessen the amount of talking in shul.

We are working, of course, with the assumption that if one sees a real Ani, one is obligated to give him money.  This is the clear implication and understanding of the words of the author of the Shulchan Aruch (247:1).  It is also how most of the Achronim understand the Mechaber too.

Tzedakah is a full-fledged obligation to be supporting the poor – it is not optional.  One does not have to give an entire dollar, nor, according to many Poskim must one give to people that could theoretically be working.  One could, however, prepare quarters to give.  It should also be noted that if one does not have funds to give, this is not considered an Ones – it is a full-fledged exemption.

One issue, of course, that comes to mind is the idea of Osaik baMitzvah patur min haMitzvah – one who is involved in a Mitzvah is exempt from another Mitzvah.  The RaN (Sukkah 25a) rules that this principle is applicable even if it is possible to fulfill both Mitzvos with the one caveat that if it must affect the quality of the first Mitzvah being performed.  Otherwise, one should do both Mitzvos.

So are we truly capable of multi-tasking our giving tzedaka along with the davening that we were originally involved in?  The short answer would seem to be “no, we cannot effectively multi-task without compromising the first Mitzvah.”  All this is assuming that we are really concentrating on the Tefillah.  If we are not anyway, then it seems that the RaN’s caveat is irrelevant.   The consequences of this rationale are that if someone isn’t paying attention to the davening – then he could be approached and he would not be exempt.  If someone is paying attention then he is exempt. [...]

1 comment :

  1. i remember a shnorrer hitting on the chazzan during chazzarat hashatz before kedushah (and the chazzan, being so startled, actually gave him money) during the "minyan factory" days of the sfardishe shul in boro park. i was there and personally witnessed this.

    within a week, signs went up no collecting from barchu till after kriat hatorah.


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