Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Comments on One Who Thought Tzaddikim Come to Drain Jews of Their Money

E-mail from a reader:

Recently my husband had the zechus to help make appointments for people to meet with a great Rav who was in town. He gave out his phone number so that those who wanted to meed with the Rav could call and set up a convenient time for a meeting. One call he received though, was totally unexpected. The man on the phone asked him, “How much does the Rebbi plan to raise on his trip to the community?” My husband politely asked him to clarify his question but the man simply repeated, “How much does the Rebbi plan to make on his trip?” At this point my husband thought that perhaps this was a generous person who was willing to assist the Rav in his avodas Hashem. But the man clarified his intention before my husband could ask anything further. “How much money does he plan to drain from the community?” Both my husband and I were shocked at
this response. My husband, being one of those even tempered people, simply said “I’m not having this conversation,” and hung up.

I, on the other hand, fluctuated between different ways in which I would have responded to this comment.

Righteous: Rebbaim don’t drain life from a community, they give life!

Taking No Notice: OK so should I put you down for a 4:30? Great
can’t wait to see you there.

But then I thought, he’s right! A Rav coming here to raise money for Jews or even worse, for children?! So they can eat, have a warm bed, learn about the beauty of Shabbos and…I shudder to say this… Torah? Surely if these children have the chutzpah to be learning Torah, then they have enough energy to be out earning a decent living. So what if they’re only three? I mean come on, bringing people closer to Torah? Making them love Hashem? Fech!
-Dixie Yid

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Chaim B. said...

I think your reader is perhaps missing the point. I live in a community frequently visitied by outside Rebbes of various stripes. I too fail to see why funds from our community should be directed to these otside mosdos while worthy organizations within the community struggle to raise funds. Why should a million dollars (no, this is not an exaggeration) be raised for Admo"r Ploni to spend shabbos in our community when that same money could be used for my son's yeshiva to have a building (in progress for years while they struggle to raise funds), for the local tomchei shabbos, for the local hatzalah which is always struggling for funds, etc. Isn;t is a pashut din is shulchan aruch that aniyei ircha kodmin?

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of:

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


I hear what you're saying and it's true that Aniyei Ircha kodmim. However, you may also missing the point since this is a din *in the giver,* not the one who is collecting the tzedaka. When one desparately needs tzedaka for the children, bochrim, bikur cholim, etc. for his own mosdos, are you expected him to only ever collect in his own community, regardless of the paucity of funds??? Of course if you're working for the klal, you go and collect wherever you can.

I'm not arguing your point that as a giver, I should choose my own children's yeshivos, and the tomchei shabbos in my own community first. However that's no reason to criticize the one collecting the tzedaka.

Chabakuk Elisha,

I very much like your article and the point it made. I suggest other readers read that article too. Here's my favorite line: "The Jew in the story couldn't imagine that others do not share his greed for wealth as the most valuable material in existence."

-Dixie Yid

Chaim B. said...

>>>However that's no reason to criticize the one collecting the tzedaka.

A hypothetical: A community eschews college education and jobs in the secular community and advocates kollel for all yungeliet. As a result, that community is cash strapped. Does that community have a right to demand from others $ to subsidize their lifestyle, or should they have to face the fact that their system institutionalizes poverty and they must do something about it? Is it fair to deliberately create a situation of 'ones' and then expect other to bail you out?

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


I believe that you are conflating two issues. First you said that the problem was people giving to non-local tzedakas when there were local ones that also desperately needed support. Now you're saying the (or an) issue is transfering the burden of lifestyle choices. There is not necessarily any correlation between those two issues.

Some Chassidus'n may indeed have financial troubles because because their people don't go to work till their mid-thirties or later. But in many of them, they are very practical and parnossa oriented. For instance, in Satmar, the majority go off to work after a few years learning as a bochur and then a year or two in kollel. They are big ba'alei tzdaka, but you will still see the man from Satmar Bikur Cholim collecting twice a year. They're not transfering the burden, since the community members in general make good money.

If you want to ask this question, it has to be asked on a case-by-case basis, knowing the parnasa vs. kollel customs of the particular Chassidus you're talking about.

-Dixie Yid

A Talmid said...

When people sit and learn Torah, they bring many merits to the world. But, if you say that you don’t agree with what they are doing, we are basically forfeiting any merits that would have helped you. No one is forcing you to donate, but to actually object to this, is cutting oneself off from all the blessings that come to the world through Torah study.

There is a terrible problem of some frum people only having respect for those charities that would be considered worthy in a secular world, but can’t appreciate supporting people sitting and learning Torah for Its sake.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

A Talmid,

Here here.

And that's not even the case often anyway. Many of the mosodos are yeshivos for children, which also need support.

-Dixie Yid