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Hilchos Tzedakah, compiled and arranged by Rosh Ha-Kolel Harav Yosef Fleischman

  1. We saw in last week’s halachos that a person should not give all of his maaser money to a single person, at least not on a regular basis. However, according to some opinions, if a person has one poor relative, he may transfer all his funds to him, even on a regular basis (Maharsham 1:32; Igros Moshe 1:142; Tzedaka Umishpat 3:20; see Mordechai, quoted by Shach 19).
  2. Some advise that he should give some of his funds to other poor people, so that he should not be suspected of not giving tzedaka at all (Iggros Moshe, loc. cit).
  3. According to some opinions, if one’s parents need financial support, he must give them all of his tzedaka money, until all their needs are catered for (Shut Chasam Sofer, Yoreh Deah 229).
  4. Money that is given out through a tzedaka fund or gabbai must be distributed based on need and the rules of hilchos tzedakah (Noda Biyhuda (Choshen Mishpat, tinyana 50; Igros Moshe, loc. cit.). Of course, the gabbai may not give precedence to his own relatives (Mordechai, Bava Basra 502; Or Zarua 24, quoted by Shulchan Aruch 257:10; Ahavas Chesed 6:13).
  5. Similarly, relatives of the donors may not be given preference—once he has given the money to the fund, the donor cannot voice an opinion on how the money should be distributed (Ahavas Chesed). Only if he initially specified his intention when giving his donation, can he insist that his intention is carried out.

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