I am the gabbai tzedaka and a old penny collector.
Someone puts in a old penny worth perhaps 10 cents.
I will take it out and put in 10 cents. However, from purely a halachic standpoint (not doing the nice, moral thing) how much should I put in?
I asked 2 orthodox rabbis in town and got 2 answers.
One: since the shul will merely put the penny in a roll, I only have to replace it with a penny.
Two: since it is worth a dime to me, I have to put in a dime.
Mekoros for both sides would be appreciated so I can learn the sources.
chag kosher v’sameach

Answer:

You do not have to put in more than the actual value of the penny. If this is ten cents, then this is sufficient, even if the penny is worth more to you.

The fact that a coin in tzedakah is worth more to the gabbai, or to anybody else, does not mean that tzedakah should be given the subjective value that the person gives it.

For instance, if a person wishes to use the tzedakah box to change a quarter for two dimes and a nickel, and he needs the quarter urgently (for some coin operated machine, for instance), so that he would be prepared to pay more for it, he still needn’t pay tzedakah more than two dimes and a nickel. The fact that the coin is worth more to him does not influence the amount he must pay to tzedakah.

The fact that you are the gabbai does not make you worse off than others. If you wouldn’t want the penny for yourself, and you would offer it to somebody else, you would get 10 cents for it; you therefore don’t have to contribute more, even though you desire it, and would be prepared to pay more.

Best wishes and chag same’ach.

Tags: collection

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