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Ethics of certification

Question:

A talmid chochom I know who unfortunately collects for himself on 13th Ave in Borough Park, was verbally reprimanded by someone that his Lakewood issued certificate which he displays along with a letter from a Rov in Ramot, was already expired.

He tried to explain to this man that it only expired on March 30, and that the essential validity of this particular certificate is only a requirement for those collecting in Lakewood itself, since they are trying to control the amount of competition among the constantly arriving collectors from Eretz Yisroel and elsewhere.

Since he is collecting in Brooklyn, (where there are no official certificates anyway), this limitation is not required.

He displays it to validate the authenticity of his situation, which is true whether or not this certificate has expired or not.

The man simply hurried away hurling back a comment which insinuated that this talmid chochom was being dishonest and might be deceiving people with this expired certificate.

I also know that he actually has been renewing this Lakewood certificate every 3 months, until now, but the cost is $50 each time to renew it by mail, and he felt that although he wants to be absolutely honest lemehadrin, however it is simply not incumbent upon him to continuously renew a certificate which has no authority anyway in this location, and almost no one reads it, and even if they do, the actual date does not stop them from making a contribution.

There are many other collectors who don’t have any certification letters of recommendation at all, or use very old ones.

He said this only happened to him once before, and that person did give him something, and actually seemed to show some authentic concern.

After everything he is still a person of integrity and really wants to do the correct thing, he does not want to deceive anyone in any way, so does he actually need to keep renewing this certificate – or any other similar document or letter – upon expiration, or once a year is sufficient?

 

Answer:

According to what you are describing, I don’t see why he needs to renew his certificate. He isn’t doing anything wrong by collecting outside of Lakewood, if he is only using the certtificate to show that he is an authentic person. If anyone looks closely at the certificate it would be the correct thing for him to explain to the person that it is only being used to show that he is indeed an honest, needy person, but not as a present recommendation.

Best wishes

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