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Tzedakah question

Question:

Years ago, I used to collect money for various tzedakah causes. At one point I borrowed some money from the funds collected (I know I probably shouldn’t have) with the intent to pay it back quickly. (We’re talking around a few hundred dollars) As time went by, I forget to pay it back, and eventually lost record of the exact amounts. As far as I know, none of the causes know the money is owed to them at all. I have two questions.

  1. Since I’m unsure about exact amounts, do I have to pay back only the amount I’m sure of, or the maximum amount it could possibly be?
  2. Would it be possible to give the money to other tzedakah causes instead. The reason being that it would be awkward and difficult at this point to give it the original ones. And I’m unsure if one of the organizations still exists?

Thanks

Answer:

  1. If you took money from the tzedakah you would have to give back an amount that you are sure that you indeed returned the full amount of money that you took.
  2. If the tzedakah organization still exists, it should be given specifically back to them, because this money was earmarked to be given to them. try to find out if it exists or not. If it doesn’t then it can be given to a different cause.

Have a good Yom Tov

Sources:

Igros Moshe CH:M 1-68 D:H Uma Sheshalta bos yud bais.

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