Friday, April 16, 2010

The Power of Tzedakah

A certain man experienced an absolute miracle and was told that he should consider making a seudas hoda’ah. Since he was unclear what the exact source of this custom is he decided to ask Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, if this was correct and, if so, for the exact source of this practice.
Rav Shlomo Zalman replied, “There is no real source to do so, but that is the custom. Obviously, you must give thanks and making a meal is one way to do so. But if you give tzedakah instead, this is a much better way to give thanks to Hashem.”
A certain man who had been very sinful and wished to repent his misdeeds consulted with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach about how to atone for his many wrongs. Although this man was sure that he would be instructed to fast or do some kind of painful penance, what the Rav told him would never have crossed his mind. After giving some very pointed advice to ensure that this man strengthen himself to prevent a relapse to his old ways Rav Shlomo Zalman added, “Give as much tzedakah as you can to poor talmidei chachamim and institutions of Torah and Chessed.”
A certain baal teshuvah would give large sums of money to tzedakah and was very gratified with all the good that he had done throughout his life. As he got older he felt that it would be a good idea to be buried with the many receipts he had received for his generous donations, but he wondered if this was halachically permitted.
When he asked Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach this question, he received an answer that surprised him. “It is permitted to do it, but it would be inane. In heaven, everything is revealed and they have no need of any decomposed receipts!”

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