I am a member of a particular group within the Jewish community. I would like to fulfill the mitzvah of matonos l’evyonim by giving to a Kollel associated with this group. The Kollel however, is in another town. Do the aniyim of my home town take preference or do I equaly fulfill the mitzvah by giving to members of my group in the other town.

Answer:

The obligation of matanos la’evyonim matches the laws of tzedakah, whereby the poor of the town come before the poor of other localities. However, just as with regard to tzedakah, it is permitted to give some of one’s charity money to out-of-town causes, so with matanos la’evyonim, you can give part of the donation to the kolel. Some authorities, moreover, write that talmidei chachamin of another town take precedence over the regular local poor, and this is the more true when there is a special affiliation with the cause in question.

Note that matanos la’evyonim must be given specifically to the poor, who lack the means to fend for themselves.

For detailed laws of the order of precedence in donating charity, see here (see no. 6 concerning the question of local poor v. Torah scholars).

For laws of matanos la’evyonim, see here.

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