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Poor Working Man or (Ostensibly) Rich Avreich

If a person works in an optical shop and can give 1 or 2 people a substantial discount. If a kollel person comes in claiming need, however this person wears designer clothes, drives a fancy car and his wife wears a 2000$ wig. And there’s another person who is a working man, but drives a broken down car, wears shabby clothes and has a number of children to support. He never claims any need. Can i give the working man the discount based on appearances? The working man is a frum Jew and is kove’a itim la Torah.


The kollel person does not appear to be in great need, and therefore the natural and halachic inclination would be to give the discount to the poor working man.

However, do not be too hasty to judge: it isn’t so easy to know how much a person’s wig costs; the car may have been given to him as a gift by his in-laws, and so on, so that it is possible that the kollel man really doesn’t have any income. If so, a kollel man (who is truly occupied with Torah study) would take precedence.

Please see the laws of tzedakah on the site, where we have explained that talmidei chachamim take precedence in allocating tzedakah, though of course a poor working man takes precedence over somebody who is not in need.

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