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Giving Tzedakah to A Person Who Makes Unwise Financial Decisions

“Am I obligated to give Tzedakah to family member who is making unwise financial decisions?

Question:

A family member has asked me for tzedakah. In my opinion, this person is making unwise financial decisions, and I do not trust that my tzedakah support will actually be helpful and effective. Am I obligated to give what I being asked to give anyway?

Answer:

Yes, a “poor person” may ask for money as long as they are in need.

What are the basic needs?

Food, clothing, rent/housing, utilities, school tuition (if one cannot afford to pay the tuition for their children) etc. If one wants they may receive Tzedakah so not to live in צער (discomfort); even though they can manage without it, they have on whom to rely upon. It is self understood that it would not include vacations, fancy cars or exquisite dining or to buy luxuries, etc.

Unless you know for certain that the money you’ll give them will not be used at all for essential purposes, you should support them.”

Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun, asktherav.com

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