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Avoiding Waste - A Non-Ecological Study

A while back I asked why Chazal use the strange language "Hamevazbez" al yevazbez yoser michomesh". - If one "wastes" money on tzedaka it should not be more than a fifth of ones money. Why is giving tzedaka called "waste"? It should say "hamechalek" - if one dispenses, or "hanosen" - if one gives?

I saw an answer in my Rebbe Shlita's sefer on Chumash in the name of the great Sefardi Rav, The Chida. A person who gives tzedaka might not be doing it out of the goodness of his heart. He might be doing it because he is naturally a wasteful person. And this might lead to wastefulness in other areas [renovating an already renovovated home, buying a new car six months after the last car etc.]. Therefore Chazal told us that even with respect to tzedaka one should not "waste" more than a fifth.

[My addendum: There are numerous "kulos" to give more than a fifth. [I LOVE Yidden who search for such kulos.] One is to save a life. Another is if one gives in order to receive atonement for ones sins. Which greatly narrows the application of this halacha.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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