Friday, September 11, 2015

Too many Schnorr letters? priorities in giving Tzedaka

Its the time before Rosh hashana and yom kippur when many Mosdos, Yeshivos and organizations ask for donations as klal yisrael is in a giving mode of tzedaka during aseres yemai Teshuva. As in previous years,
we are bombarded by Tzedaka letters known as schnorr letters. Many of us have an Image of our father going through his pile of letters writing checks to each one putting the stamps on and mailing it out. Back then there were not that many letters as we are receiving today on a daily basis. Ezras Torah, Diskin orphanage, Telz yeshiva to name a few.  Today the organizations have gotten sophisticated by soliciting Tzedaka, yet the good old envelope stills finds its way into our mail box.

If one can afford to give to all that would be wonderful, however not everyone is capable of that. Secondly, many of us have no affiliation or know anything about the Organization soliciting. They buy mailing lists and someone in Brooklyn can receive a letter for a local tzedaka in Los Angeles. 
Whom am I to give?

According to Halacha there are priorities in who to give tzedaka to first. Please discuss this with your Local Rabbi as there are differences of opinions. 
.Category 1: Captives, prisoners and matters of life and death- pikuach nefesh
Category 2: Very close relatives
Category 3: Needy Torah scholars, support for dissemination of Torah learning, and other poor persons
Category 4: Communal needs
Category 5: To finance the cost of mitzvot
  Rav Moshe Feinstein rules (Igros Moshe Yore deah 144) that the giver of charity has the right of disposition and the system of detailed priorities applies only to communal Tzedaka funds. An individual has more leeway on the concept of Tovas hana'ah in giving. Some Poskim rule that Hachzokas hatorah is the highest form of giving tzedaka.
 For  Tzedaka Guidelines and Halachos how much to give,  click HERE   HERE and HERE

                 ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה מעבירין את רוע הגזירה


  1. I put One dollar in each envelope and send it back. Would love to give more:(

  2. The term "Schnorr letters" is not keeping up to your standard of "Lashon N'kiyah"