Question:

I hire a babysitter to watch my children from 1:30 to 4:20 in the afternoon. I come home at 4:20, a few minutes before shkia. I owe the babysitter $40. However, I realize that the only money that I have is a 100-dollar bill. No one has change. Am I obligated to give her $100 to avoid transgressing the biblical prohibition of delaying a worker’s payment? Is she obligated to procure change and return the $60 to me? How soon is she obligated to do so?

Another question: Somebody asks me for tzedeka, but the only money I have is a $100 bill. (Let’s say I know that the person is not a faker.) Am I obligated to give it to him to avoid transgressing the prohibition of not giving tzedeka?

Answer:

Regarding paying the babysitter-  If you can go to the bank and withdraw money or to give her a check, then do that. If there is someone that you can borrow the money from, then borrow it. If all else fails, and there is no way to cash the bill, then you are not obligated to give the babysitter the large bill. However if she is a person that you can trust that she will give you back the change, then it is a recommended thing to do, in order to be mekayem this mitzva d’orayso. However if she is not someone that you trust, then you don’t have to.

Regarding giving money to tzedakah, it is the obligation of the receiver of the tzedakah to make sure to give the giver his change, and if the doesn’t have change you don’t have to give him.

 

 

Sources:

Ahavas Chesed 7-9, Minchas Tzvi 2-12, Mispat Shlomo pg. 100, Salmas Chaim 531.

6 Responses to “giving away money”

  1. So not having the proper currency (and not being able to get it from the bank or a neighbor) is a justification for transgressing the biblical prohibition of delaying a worker’s payment past sunset? But I thought that a person has to give up everything he owns to avoid transgressing a biblical prohibition.

    Re tzedekah – so let’s say that I took a $10 bill and I said to the collector: “I want to give you $1. Do you have 9 singles?” He says, “No.” So then I won’t give him anything. Isn’t that humiliating and degrading, since I already took out the money and he thought that he was going to get it, and now he gets nothing?

    • One of the exemption that one does not haveto pay a workere on time is if he doesn’t have money to pay him. L’chatchila he should not hire the owrker inthe first place, but if he did and now he doesn’t have money, he is not in violation of the mitzvah.
      Regarding the tzedakah, I am telling you the halacha. If the case will be such that you feel you should not humiliate the poor person, you may give him the whole ten dollars if you want. Or you can explain it to him very respectfully, that this is all you can give him and when he has the change you will be happy to give him the money

  2. “One of the exemptions that one does not have to pay a worker on time is if he doesn’t have money to pay him.”

    But in this case he does have money. He has a 100 dollar bill. I would say that he must give it to the babysitter or he will transgress! What difference does it make if the agreed upon amount is only $40? He is obligated to forfeit all his possessions down to the last penny before transgressing one prohibition of the Torah.

    • Being that he would have a significant loss by giving the $100, he is not obligated to take such a loss, and therefore it is considered as if he doesn’t have the money to pay.

  3. The Isur of withholding the pay on time is only when the worker is demanding his pay already whereas when he is not toveia you have not transgressed the isur.

    This being the case the employer can show the worker the bill which shall clear away his worry regarding his pay and he shall not demand the pay today which shall eliminate any concern regarding bal talin.

    One can also let the employee pick up the bill and be koneh for himself the amount due to him so that the mitsvah as well shall be fulfilled although the bill is staying by the employer.

    • The last idea I agree to.
      Regarding the first idea, however not being toveia is only an exemption if it is because the worker doesn’t want the money now. With babysitters, they usually want the money but they are embarrassed to ask for it.
      If showing the babysitter that essentially you have the money to pay her, might or might not calm her fears, because it does not mean that she is going to get paid with the money after the bill is broken.

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