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Classification Of A Poor Person


One of my students presently has a job but has no savings, and he is uncertain as to whether his job will last more than two months. His brother wants to give him charity funds. May he accept?


He may accept charity funds since he does not have job security for a year. The reason that a year is the criterion is that the Mishnah at the end of Peah rules that one may colect ma”aser oni if one doesn’t have in one’s possession two hundred zuz, which the Rosh and others explain is the amount that one needs to subsist for a year. The Or Zarua (Hilchos Tzeddaka) saya that tzeddaka has the same status as ma’aser oni. As such, if he cannot be confident that he will have a livelihood for a year, he may accept tzeddaka.

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  1. The student would like to know if it is nonetheless preferable not to receive charity?

  2. Indeed it is better not to accept. This too is based on a Mishnah at the end of Peah which states that if a person allows himself to live with difficulty rather than accept charity, he will be granted a long life.

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