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Can a Ba’al Tzedaka use lie detector on collectors


We are friendly with an extremely wealthy person whose 10% reaches out to 10’s of millions per year. Poor people are at his office and home on a daily basis. He gives out 1,000’s per day always.

True, many of the people are teling the truth, but there are certainly people that don’t and I asked him the question ‘why don’t you make anyone that wants a donation to have your employee first spend 10 mins giving them this test’? If they really have a 100k debt or 50k medical bill, they shouldn’t care. Let’s see if their sob story is truthful and they aren’t inflating the truth.

This was MY idea, not his. Yes I’m sensitive to poor people, and I realize this isn’t the norm, but there so many fakes out there and I think a wealthy person out to ensure his money is giving out properly and he would actually give MORE money to those in true need if he knew were telling the 100% ames.

Who cares if people are offended saying ‘what chutzpah! who dare him accuse ME if lying?’
My answer to that person is this: well, this rich person could very well just give to the kuppa tzeddeka and THEY to my understand verify in their own way that the family is truly in need, not with lie detector, but in other ways, there is a process, and this wealthy person doesn’t have the ability of doing that with dozens coming daily and must make a decision off the spot.

So my question is may this person implement such a lie detector test. Is it advisable? And if no, please explain why and how he can ENSURE his money is going towards the right reasons as people state. If you have another solution I would love to hear this.

And of course I will be passing this info on to my friend as he agrees it’s a problem and told me ‘go ahead and do some research and get back to me’

Thank you Rabbis for clarifying.


It is very nice that you are so concerned about your friend’s money and that people shouldn’t c”v steal from him, but if he would ask me, I would discourage him from doing something like that. When giving tzedakah, one of the main things we have to be careful about is to preserve the dignity of the poor person. The Rambam says that a person that gives the tzedakah with a sour face loses the reward for the tzedakah that he gave, and woe to the person that embarrasses the poor person. I don’t think there is any more degrading way to treat the poor heartbroken person, than to put him through a test that is done to criminals, even if it is only an assumption that he might be lying. When someone enters the country, the boarder police don’t put them through a lie detector test, and neither do the banks before they give him a loan, or when someone applies for government aid, and the kupat tzedakah will surely not embarrass the poor person by putting him through this test, of having to prove that he isn’t a low down liar. If the wealthy person feels that someone may not be legitimate he will give him less. The wealthy person can set things up in a way that if the person wants a more substantial amount, he has to provide a letter of recommendation, with a phone number, a few days in advance, and one of the wealthy person’s workers can verify the information. This is a norm by many wealthy people, that get many solicitors, and it can be done in a way that, it doesn’t come across as anything personal.


Rambam Hilchos Matnas Aniyim 10-4, 5, Gemorah Baba Basra 8b, Aruch Hashulchas Y:D 249-13.

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