Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can you give a Meshulach less than a quarter or 2 dimes for tzedaka

As is the case every morning during Shachris many meshulachim or Tzedakka collectors come by making their rounds collecting tzedaka. I prepare some dollars and change and give it out accordingly. Recently I gave a meshulach 2 dimes and a nickle as that's all that I had left. I felt bad not giving him anything, he took the money and literally threw it back in my face. Not wanting him to be upset I followed him out the door and explained to him I did not intend to insult him or make a joke of him, as that was what I had in my pocket. He ignored me and continued on making his morning rounds. Most meshuilachim will gladly take what you give them even if its a quarter and maybe even a dime.

 What got me thinking was, is it a bizayon to give a meshulach loose change. According to a posek I spoke to, he told me the minimum shiur you must give is a Grogeres as brought down in Yoreh deah 249 which is equivalent to a dime or approximately 10 cents. Yet it may be embarrassing for a collector to take anything less than a quarter.

Now, at times I just dont have any cash and wave with my hands the "I'm sorry i don't have anything on me" motion, they either insist that you do have or move on to the next guy. I cant afford to give each one a dollar as there are many that come during a single davening. Most will offer 50 cents change for a dollar. However its hard when you put yourself in their shoes being away from home for a stretch of 3-4 months asking people for money going around from city to city across the country to help support a family. They have to keep their pride and dignity and we must not make them feel looked down upon. What do you think is it better not to give loose change at all and not make him feel bad or hope he takes it with a smile? please share with me your 2 cents i wont be insulted!


  1. I try to give in shul 2 quarters. If it's someone new or he looks like he is not a pro I'll give him a dollar. If they come to my door (which is often) I'll usually give 2 dollars.

  2. Hard to know as it so often depends on the person. Personally I like the idea that you should not give less than a dollar, to keep it dignified. But obviously that 1) adds up and 2) sometimes you really don't have it, or it seems worse to start hondeling for change of a $20 or something. It's hard to think of their being some kind of strict, consistent guideline that will work in all situations.

  3. I don't understand how someone speaking to the king should be interrupted constantly. Why can't collector's wait outside shul?.

  4. It's hard to know what to do. I noticed that many people give less then a dollar or don't give at all. As many like myself who have payments of tuition ,support for children, taxes and more, I have held back giving big donations and many aren't happy with it. I stopped opening my door because of that, though I don't know if that's right to do either. There are no easy answers.

  5. Pay your own tuitionAugust 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Stay in school. Learn a trade. Get a job. Get married. Have children. Support them yourself and quit being a useless bum. If anyone doesn't like this comment too bad!

    1. No one feels bad except for you. Count your blessings and be happy with your lot that hashem gave you. There are many who are not as fortunate as you. dont look down at them. You never know which way the wheels turn.

  6. The problem many of us have is with the lifestyle that encourages many to end up as collectors. That is unforgivable.