Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How One Pays

In Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, it is ruled that any excess of funds raised for the benefit of a given indigent person belongs to this indigent person. In other words, if more money was raised than this person needed to extricate himself from his squalor, he gets to keep it. Even if he had already gotten out of his predicament before the entire sum of money was depleted, the residue is his for him to use at his discretion. Reb Ya-akov zl was approached for an explanation of this seemingly enigmatic ruling. Why not return the excess funds to their donators, or direct the monies to someone else who is a needy state? His reply was that the indigent person paid for the entire sum collected in his behalf through the toll it took on his honor and sense of dignity. It was not money got for nothing: the beneficiary paid dearly through the disgrace he endured. This is why the Shulchan Aruch goes on to rule that, in the event of this erstwhile poor man’s demise, any remaining funds is passed on to his inheritors. It is also why, Reb Ya-akov continued to explain, it is ruled that, if he is a kohein, he is entitled to reject a particular presentiment of teruma on grounds of its being beneath his dignity. As someone whose honor has been sacrificed and compromised, he retains the discretion to spend it as he sees fit. (From Bemechitzas Rabeinu)

No comments:

Post a Comment