Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Rav and the Dishonest Collector

Chazal tell us that we really ought to appreciate false solicitors of charity. Were it not for them, we would be held accountable for turning away any person in serious need. Since there are some rogues who do prey on the well-intentioned, we are no longer duty-bound to assume that everyone we meet who asks for our assistance is actually in desperate need. The Rif, zt”l, on Ein Yaakov explains we express our appreciation to the phonies…by giving them charity!
The Satmar Rav, zt”l, gave a great deal of tzedakah. It was well known that if one really needed money, the Rav could be convinced to pay out huge sums. Once, a man came before him and told him a heartbreaking tale about how his wife was sick and his children were also ill in different, horrific ways.
The Rav was exceedingly moved. On the table was a small bag that held a huge sum that one of his wealthy Chasidim had left as a pidyon nefesh, together with a kvitl. The Rav, clearly in distress from hearing the man’s tale of woe, immediately thrust the bag of money into the poor man’s hand. The man tearfully thanked the Rav and raced from the room, presumably to rush home and tell his family that their money problems at least were over.
A few minutes after the man had left, the Rav’s gabbai ran in, obviously flustered, and exclaimed, “Where is the man who was dressed in such-and-such a way?” He was obviously referring to the man with the sob story.
The Satmar Rav replied, “He just left.”
“But Rebbe, we must find him! He is a faker, a phoney! How will we get the money back from him? Did the Rebbe give him a large sum of money?” Although the gabbai was frantic, the Rebbe suddenly seemed to relax again.
The Rebbe asked, “You mean that story wasn’t true? Boruch Hashem—at least no Jew is suffering that kind of agony!” exclaimed the Rebbe.


Anonymous said...


Spiritual Dan said...

only the liar may face that kind of agony in the future for committing such an avera against that tzaddik, and H".