Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dr. Yael,

A number of years ago, my friend’s son was born prematurely and the bris was postponed. I inquired of my rabbi how to both congratulate my friend on his new baby boy but also how to be there for him as his son faced medical issue after medical issue. The rav gave sound advice which I was able to channel toward my friend (whose son was able to have a bris soon thereafter). The rav then faced the same tekufah with his own son; perhaps the advice the rav gave helped in his situation. Anyway, to my ‘problem.’ I have another friend, different situation: this friend is amazing – he will move mountains for those in need. I am blessed with whatever Hashem feels I need and I have endeavored to assist this friend with his admirable causes when I could. However, (and this friend, heart of gold and all, is quite jovial), makes me feel downtrodden with the almost constant ‘ask.’ You gave last time; we need for this event. We are relying on you… and your friends. I feel like I’m in a twister of his words. How can I be there for this friend without being bombarded with the uncomfortable charity solicitations?


Thank you for all your amazing advice over the years. I remember your husband well; no one fully heals from that, but I hope your assist to others gave you chizuk. Now, lehavdil, as someone who likes to help others myself, I turn to you with my request. We all get requests from a lot of amazing organizations run by enthusiastic friends.

Charitable in the City


Dear Charitable in the City,

Thank you for your kind words about my deceased husband. My mother, a Yekke Jew, always says the truth is the best lie. I think you must be honest with your friend and tell your friend what you feel you can and want to do at this time.

Baruch Hashem, you have the financial ability to help others, but people should not take advantage of you. I have many wealthy clients who unfortunately dread going to shul (synagogue) since people don’t let them pray in peace. They are constantly bombarded by people who want money while they try to pray.

It is difficult to set boundaries, but we all have the challenge of where and how to give our maaser money. It is important that you tell your friend you love his chesed and that he is always trying to help others, but that it is hard for you to always feel you have to give to all the causes he is fighting for. Alternatively, you can begin to learn to say, “I’m sorry I cannot give this time,” and he will likely accept it and learn that you cannot always give to every cause. If he pressures you, you can respond that you value his friendship immensely and that you would appreciate it if he can accept when you tell him you’re unable to contribute. You should be able to tell a good friend how you feel as long as you do it in a calm and kind manner.

People are often put into this situation and it definitely can become difficult. It would be helpful to you to also try to change your perspective. Hashem gave you the ability to give and it helps to be grateful that you are on the giving end. If you can remind yourself that everything is from Hashem, it may make it easier to deal with the constant asks. You can also see it as a zechus to be able to help your friend with all of his causes, which may make it easier for you as well.

Hatzlacha and may Hashem give you GEFEN – Gezunt, Parnassah and Nachat and may all your tefillot be answered l’tova!!!


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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at