web analytics
April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Yizkor – Remember Your Pledge

    The shul was packed for Yizkor service. For Mr. Reuven Black this year was particularly poignant; it marked the tenth Yahrzeit of his father, who had passed away shortly after Pesach. He had decided to do something special in memory of his father.


   People began calling out their Yizkor pledges, which were being dedicated to the shul: “Twice chai! Five hundred dollars! Ten times chai!” Mr. Black straightened his tie and cleared his throat: “Ten thousand dollars to the shul in memory of the tenth yahrzeit of my father, z”l.” The astonished gabbai beamed with delight and wished him a hearty “Yashar koach.”


  Two weeks later, Mr. Black served as chazan on occasion of his father’s yahrzeit. Towards the end of leining, he prepared himself for Maftir. He expectantly listened to the gabbai, “Ya’amod Shimon ben Moshe – Maftir.” “Shimon ben Moshe?” Could he have heard wrong? Then he saw his neighbor, Shimon Katz, who also had yahrzeit that week, walking to the Torah


    Mr. Black was crestfallen; his face turned white. After such a donation to the shul, why had they not given him Maftir? What a disgrace to his father’s memory! Immediately after davening, he confronted the gabbai: “Don’t you remember my Yizkor pledge? Doesn’t my father’s memory deserve Maftir for that?”


   The gabbai stammered, “I apologize. You had Maftir last year, and I had written down that this year Shimon should get Maftir.” “Who cares!” protested Reuven. “I made a special donation to the shul this year on occasion of the tenth yahrzeit.” He raised his voice, “If the shul doesn’t properly appreciate the donation, I’m going to give the money to a different charity!” He turned around and left the shul.


   The gabbai tried to compose himself. Perhaps he should have given Mr. Black Maftir again, but he didn’t expect such a response. He waited a month, but no check was forthcoming…


   Gingerly, the gabbai approached Reuven: “I apologize if you feel slighted,” he said. “Nonetheless, you are required to honor your pledge to the shul.”


   Mr. Black paused for a moment. “I intend to honor the pledge in my father’s memory – but not to this shul!   It says in Gemara Arachin (6a) that if a person pledges money to charity – until it is handed over to the gabbai, it is permissible to change it.” The gabbai was baffled; he would have to leave this for the Rabbi to deal with.


   Later that evening, Rabbi Dayan invited Mr. Black to his office. “The Shulchan Aruch (C.M. 204:7) writes that it is proper for a person to honor his verbal commitments to another, even if not legally binding, and you pledged to our shul.” Reuven, however, wouldn’t hear. “I feel no moral obligation to the shul after the disgrace to my father’s memory by ‘cheating’ him of Maftir.”


    Rabbi Dayan calmly explained that Maftir is a merit to the deceased because the son leads the community in the blessing and reading of Maftir. “You served as chazan, and saying Kaddish additional times was also a tremendous merit.” Mr. Black, however, remained unimpressed: “I have already made up my mind. And since the money hasn’t been given to the gabbai yet, I am legally allowed to change it to another shul.”


   “Not so simple,” responded Rabbi Dayan. “Although Tosfos in Arachin first explains that before reaching the gabbai’s hand it is permissible to ‘change’ the pledge completely to a different purpose, they conclude that it is only permissible to ‘exchange’ the actual coins and use them until the charity is needed. The Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 259:1) cites the second interpretation.”


   Mr. Black remained adamant. “But what’s the difference whether I give to this shul or another; either way I’m giving the same amount and kind of charity?”


  Rabbi Dayan smiled. “You’re raising a fascinating issue, one that poskim wrestled with through the generations. Machaneh Ephraim (Tzedakah #7) and Ketzos HaChoshen (212:4) suggest that it should be possible to give the charity to someone else. However, Radbaz (IV: 1204) and Shach (C.M. 87:51) insist that you are required to give it to the person or shul to which you pledged. This is based on the principle of Amiraso LaGavohah k’amsiraso l’hedyot – A pledge to the Almighty is tantamount to an act of transaction with a person, and is legally binding.”


   “Bottom line, can I still do what I want?” asked Mr. Black.


   “Well,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “the Chasam Sofer (Y.D. #237) and Beis Yitzchak (Y.D. 82:13) rule that the majority of poskim require you to fulfill your pledge to the designated recipient. Therefore, you should give the money to the shul.”


    Mr. Black remained silent. Rabbi Dayan escorted him to the door and added softly, “Reuven, consider also that one of the greatest merits you can give your father is to follow in the footsteps of Aharon and avoid dispute.” “I’ll think about it,” said Mr. Black.


  A week later, Mr. Black handed the gabbai a sealed envelope. Inside was a check for $10,000 and a note: “In true merit for my father, I am enclosing my pledge and also ask forgiveness for having gotten angry at you.”


 


   Rabbi Meir Orlian is a halachah writer for Machon L’Choshen Mishpat. The Machon, which is headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, is committed to providing awareness, education and services in all areas of monetary issues that arise in our daily lives. For general questions, comments, or additional information, please call (877) MISHPAT (647-4728) or email info@machonmishpat.com. For questions regarding a halachic monetary issue, please call (877) 845-8455 or email  halachahotline@machonmishpat.com

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Yizkor – Remember Your Pledge”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Biggest Democratic Foe of Obama on Iran Indicted
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

Business-Halacha-logo

“Do we have to donate again?” some people asked. “Is it fair that we should have to pay twice?”

“This sounds like a question for Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Cohen. He took out his cell phone and called Rabbi Dayan.

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

“Halacha differentiates between giving a gift, forgoing a debt [mechila], and granting permission to take something,” answered Rabbi Dayan.

“I don’t accept this,” said Mr. Zummer. “I want you to finish! You’re not allowed to just stop in the middle!”

“That’s what you’re wondering?” laughed Mr. Rubin. “That ring is not mine at all. A relative gave me money to buy it for him.”

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/yizkor-remember-your-pledge/2009/04/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: