Question:

I run an outreach organization. There were others running the organization before we came to town who have since moved on. Going through many old files, we found checks that are filled out by the organization but apparently were never sent to the intended receivers, These checks are about 10 years old. What and who is responsible to deal with these? Can we assume that other checks went out and these somehow were thought to have been lost? Any direction would be helpful. Thanks.

Answer:

I am assuming that the checks you are referring to are tzedakah checks that the organization was going to give out to people.

Regarding such checks right now you are running the organization, therefore you are now considered the gabbay tzedakah. You can do whatever you think is the correct thing to do, and if you think that these checks are already too old, and the people who it was intended for no longer need it, etc. you don’t have to give it to them. You don’t have fear that there was a neder l’tzedakah done here, because this doesn’t apply to a gabbay tzedakah, since he is not donating the money to the poor person, rather he is only distributing it.

Another point here is that the gabbay has the right to switch the cause of the intended tzedakah. Meaning, even if the money was collected for a certain cause and the gabbay sees that the money is no longer needed there etc., and that the money should go to a different mitzvah cause he has the right to do so. Therefore you don’t have to worry about giving the money to other people, especially in this instance that the money raised for those checks are most probably no longer there.

Note see http://dinonline.org/2017/07/11/follow-up-checks-found/  for followup question.

Sources:

Borach Tzedakah16- 22, 40.

Tags: Tzedaka

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