Regarding one who lacks funds to marry off his children, Rav Weiss refers us to the Rambam (Hilchot Matnot Aniyim 7:2) who states, “Anyone who sees a poor person asking for help and avoids him and doesn’t give him tzedakah violates the prohibition in Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 15:7), ‘Lo te’ametz et levavecha velo tikpotz et yadcha me’achicha ha’evyon – Do not harden your heart or shut your hand from your destitute brother.’”
As to the question of “the poor man’s tithe money” (which doesn’t belong to anyone, thus necessitating the allocation of these funds to any and all who make a request), it is no worse than the funds of gabba’ei tzedaka who are not required to report to whom they have dispensed their funds (Baba Batra 9a).
And as for telling a recipient of tzedakah not to purchase a home in an expensive area, the Chasam Sofer refers to a person’s basic housing and basic clothing. Thus technically we might be allowed to tell a recipient that we need only support his basic needs. Rav Weiss cautions that, indeed, Jerusalem is more expensive because it is a place of Torah, and this is a great necessity for a family. Since the halacha as stated in the mishnah in Pe’ah is that even a thousand people may give a person who has 199 zuz, we have reason to be lenient.
(To be continued)