Thursday, March 13, 2014

Conversations with a Collector

Scenario 1:

Collector: Hi, I'm collecting for Yeshivas ***** ******

Householder: Okay. Listen, I help institutions in one of two ways. Most I help in a small way, but some I help in a big way. Would you like your yeshivah to be in the second category?

Collector: Sure, that would be great!

Householder: Okay, then can you answer a few questions about your yeshivah?

Collector: Sure! Fire away.

Householder: Do the students at your yeshivah learn seriously?

Collector: Yes, absolutely!

Householder: Do they sincerely believe that learning Torah is the greatest thing that a person can do?

Collector: Definitely!

Householder: The yeshivah doesn't encourage the guys to go to college, right?

Collector: No way!

Householder: And the yeshivah encourages guys to learn in kollel, right?

Collector: Yes, of course!

Householder: And the yeshivah doesn't encourage them to go the army, right?

Collector: Of course not!

Householder: The yeshivah believes that the greatest way that they can help Am Yisrael is by learning Torah, right?

Collector: Yes! Yes!

Householder: Okay, fine. So I'm going to help your yeshivah in a big way...

Collector: Great!

Householder: ...I'm going to learn Torah.

(There is silence for a few moments.)

Collector: What?

Householder: I'm going to learn Torah. You said that this is the greatest way that one can help others.

Collector: But... but... there also need to be financial help!

Householder: Oh, absolutely! But others can do that. I want to help in the greatest way, just like you guys do. So I'm going to learn Torah. Bye now!

Scenario 2:

Collector: Hi, I'm collecting for Yeshivas ***** ******

Householder: Okay. Did your yeshivah go the Atzeres Tefillah and say Tehillim?

Collector: Yes, of course.

Householder: Does your yeshivah say Tehillim or a Misheberach for the IDF?

Collector: Um, no...

Householder: Then I'm sorry, but I'm not going to help you. You agree that we need an army, but you protest sharing the burden of army service, and do not even care about those who do bear it. How can you expect others to share in your burden, and care about you? Goodbye.

(NOTE: If you would like to give tzedakah in the best possible way, I recommend Lemaan Achai - they focus on getting people back on their feet. They help people from every community - secular, charedi, and dati-leumi - but because they are not a charedi organization, they are banned from fundraising in most charedi shuls here. Check out their website,


  1. I am going to learn for L'maan Achai. :-)

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  2. Please tell us the outcome if you actually have any such conversations. :-)

  3. Again: They *don't* think Israel needs an army, because they don't think Israel is needed, period. They haven't thought it through, of course, and may not even realize this themselves, but it's sadly true.

    And, again: All that stuff about "Torah protecting" is for people like us. They don't really care.

  4. My friend says he tells the schnorrers "Sorry, I work for a living. Therefore my money is tameh and you can't accept it." He says it leaves them speechless.

  5. Scenario 3

    Collector: Hi, I'm collecting for Yeshivat.... Our bochurim protect the state and its citizens with their studies and prayers and....

    Householder: [Interrups] No, they don't. They actually take valuable resources from those who really do so.

    Collector: [Gulp!] What? Who, how....

    Householder: Well, I contribute through taxes and donations to those who really protect us, the IDF, the Religious Nationalists who learn intensely and pray and who also work, contribute to their families and the nation's economy and serve in the armed forces. They could use a break themselves, you know.

    Collector: [Incredulous] But, but...that's not what my Rebbe says at all!!!

    Householder: Of course he wouldn't and neither would his dependents; his family and friends. But can he present any sound arguments that it is he and his students who protect the nation and not...let's just say for the sake of the argument...those who more closely comply with Torah, halachah, the words of our Sages and Jewish tradition by working to sustain their families, by teaching their children a trade and by sacrificing their time and lives even when called to defend the Klal Israel? Perhaps their prayers are dearer to God?


    [To be taken-up and continued by anyone who may think of a reasonable counter-argument to Householder.]

  6. Nachum said...
    Again: They *don't* think Israel needs an army, because they don't think Israel is needed, period. They haven't thought it through, of course, and may not even realize this themselves, but it's sadly true.

    Nachum, unfortunately, I think you're spot on. My gut feeling is that they really couldn't care less about the State of Israel. Everything else is just 'feel good' stuff, either for us or maybe even for themselves.

  7. Doesn't the shulchan aruch say that they are people who hve the minhag to give to the akum and they fulfill the mitzvah on Purim this way. So kal vechomer if you give to a jewish , but non chareidi organization which helps also charedim.

  8. If I am not mistaken, Lman Achai is not banned from most charedi shuls in RBS and not because they DL. There are a couple One is because the head of it was involved in politics that went against hareidim and he advertised himself as president of lman achai and the other shul is because the president gave a nice juicy article to the jpost about "molestation" and accused the rabbis in rbs of covering things up which wasnt true..
    Am i wrong about my facts?
    If I am wrong, how many shuls are they banned from? and if I am right, again you owe an apology to the haredi community for slandering them for the millionth time:-)

  9. You should know betterMarch 13, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Why is Mike wrong? Are you going to explain, oh ye of immeasurable wisdom, or is it suffice that you say he is wrong? Methinks someone who claims is is rational (as opposed to rabid) should back up his opinions, oops, i mean statements. Wow, you really have something on Obama and Bloomburg.

  10. See and the comments there for more details about opposition to Lemaan Achai in various charedi shuls in RBS.

  11. Lema'an Achai is formally banned from Masas Mordechai (a multiple rolling minyan shul) and from Beis Tefilla (Rav Malinowitz' shul). Lema'an Achai is persona non grata in most other chareidi shuls, but to the best of my knowledge they are not formally cheremed there.

    History: Masas Mordechai has forbidden fundraising by Lema'an Achai collectors since they were established some 15 years ago. In recent years they have claimed this is because Lema'an Achai's chairman once ran for city council on a Dati Leumi list (about 6 years ago). The gabbaim there don't seem to have heard of democracy.

    Rav Malinowitz banned Lema'an Achai from his shul in response to an article in the Jerusalem Post about a (then - 2008) new child protection program at Lema'an Achai. The article quoted three parents who had been ostracised for reporting cases of child abuse in RBS to the authorities. The article then quoted David Morris as saying that some schools under rabbinical supervision, had indeed covered up child abuse cases. Which was true.

    Rav Malinowitz was particularly upset at the time, and apparently ever since, as he believed himself to be one of the (unnamed) targets of that article, which he almost certainly was!

    Cover-ups of child abuse cases had been common practice in RBS - although that Jerusalem Post article and the subsequent establishment of "Magen" has resulted in much improved response throughout the community to child abuse allegations.

    The Beit Tefilla cherem on Lema'an Achai remains in place to this day, although most people who daven there are studiously unaware of this, or actively disapprove of this shameful ban on Lema'an Achai.

  12. I think that non-charedim need to absolutely stop supporting charedi institutions. It's ultimately for the benefit of the charedim, too - the sooner that they are forced to realize the unsustainability of their lifestyle, the better.

  13. David, I certainly agree. That said, there's at least a slight difference between Israel and Chutz La'aretz, in that the border between Charedi and Non-Charedi is more grey here and consequently there's more to be gained from supporting moderating Charedi influences.

  14. More power to you, Rabbi Slifkin!

  15. I just love the accusations thrown out by individuals. How does Ploni know and why should we believe him or her?
    Its just outrageous that people talk and possibly destroy lives or neighborhoods based on hearsay,gossip. Just because the Rabbis do things differently then Magen doesnt mean they are wrong. The State/Magen doesnt = truth and non state non magen falsehood.By the way, I am not saying their arent issues. What I am saying is to accuse communities of coverups is very severe and a person better have his facts and figures clear otherwise its total Motzei shemra.

  16. J said, "the border between Charedi and Non-Charedi is more grey here".

    It's ambiguous what you mean by "here" (from the spelling of "grey", I can assume your from Britain, though).

  17. David T. said, "I think that non-charedim need to absolutely stop supporting charedi institutions."

    I don't think that that is the correct attitude going into Purim-- כל הפושט יד ליטול, נותנים לו

    A teacher of mine, R. Natan David obm (father of Rabbi Avishai and Aharon David, for those familiar with them) used to tell me that a person is obligated to give at least something--even a minimal amount-- when approached for tzedakah, the whole year 'round, not just Purim. He reasoned that otherwise a person would be transgressing לא תאמץ את לבבך.

  18. Conisdereing the fact that the bachurim collecting for their Yeshivos range from age 14-19, I don't think that adults should be act so triumphant if they manage to best them in verbal jousting. Why don't you pick on someone your own size? Would you appreciate it if someone would accost your child out collecting money for Lema'an Achai with attacks on the hashkafa they have been reaised with?

  19. Householder: I give a large part of my income to support your Yeshiva students every month. I help pay for hospitals so that they can go there if they are sick (God forbid!) sanitation to keep them healthy, roads so they can travel, a police force to keep them safe and an army to keep them alive. I help pay for the elections they vote in and the Knesset they try to sit in. That's ok, don't thank me, someone has to pay for these things.

  20. My husband does the following:

    DH: You're here for tzedakah?
    Collector: Yes.
    DH: Well, that's great! We're collecting money in order to be able to build a shul for our community. You see, the caravan we've been using just isn't big enough for us any more, and it's so old it's falling apart. You've really come at just the right time! Now, how much would you like to give?
    Collector: ??!
    DH: I can get you a receipt. Tax deductible. How about it?
    Collector: Actually, I was here to collect tzedakah for ******
    DH: I'll tell you what. However much you give to our shul fund, I'll match that donation to your tzedakah.

    Almost always, they think dh is joking or leave as quickly as they can. Once, a collector gave dh one shekel for our shul fund. So, dh gave the collector one shekel (a different shekel) for his tzedakah.

    The shul treasurer wasn't sure how to write a receipt for that one shekel...!

  21. Yehoshua Duker - You make a good point. But once someone turns 18, I think that it's fine. Also, the first conversation is not an attack.

  22. Why 18 in particular?

    Personally I don't think it's really ok to be confrontational to anyone who comes collecting at your door (even if it is for the local mosque - not comparing just illustrating the point). There is always the option of giving a small donation or saying I am sorry but I am unable to help you at the moment etc. I don't think that trying to score one up at your own front door is likely to improve any situation.

  23. I would've liked these scenarios much better if they ended with: "But I'm going to give you X shekels anyway."

    Why? Because the way it stands is frankly a bit harsh. Yes, each one makes an arguably valid hashkafic point, but then it seems to make a further point by leaving the collector empty-handed, as if to say: "I'm davka not giving you a cent, to teach you a lesson. If everyone would just turn you away like I did, maybe your Rosh Yeshiva would get the message!"

    I understand the tactic, but I'll tell you why I think it's wrong. To shame someone and leave them standing there at the door of your house with their hand out strikes me as slightly "midat-Sdom-esque".

    Furthermore, giving a nominal something IMO makes a more powerful point. Why? Because it's a lesson in common courtesy. It's a lesson that you can make your point and still be a mentch. It's saying that even if we disagree, we can still "give" minimally to one another. We can maintain a relationship, try to help each other. We don't have to turn our backs completely and hope for the other to self-destruct.

    And that's precisely the kind of message I'd like to impart to yeshiva guys. In fact it's the kind of attitude that I believe will make the difference between having two very different worldviews coexist amicably - and not.

    That's my "nominal contribution" at any rate. Happy Purim...

  24. Jack
    This is a blog about your hashkafa..well i don't see how character assassination belongs here. i think its just juicy to bad mouth people you don't like.

  25. it seems to me from the comments that most never actually went on collecting, either for themselves or another cause. to say the least, the job is difficult and humiliating, and to knock on a strange door then be receive a "wise guy" speech and then give nothing in my opinion is being cruell.


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