Talmud Tips

Become a Supporter Library Library

“When the charity collectors saw Rabbi Elazar from Birta in the marketplace they tried to hide from him.”

Our gemara tells us that Rabbi Elazar’s daughter was to be married and he went to the market to purchase a dowry for her. However, the charity collectors knew of his “super-generosity” and did not want to approach him for fear that he would give them virtually everything he had. Nevertheless, he ran after them and forced them to tell him why they were collecting now. When he heard that they were gathering funds for the marriage of two orphans to one another, he gave them all his money except for one zuz, with which he bought wheat for food for his family. But no dowry for his daughter.

A question is raised based on the teaching of our Sages that one should not give more than a fifth of his wealth to charity (Ketuvot 50a). However, this is true when one goes out to seek potential recipients for charity; but if one is approached with a special request for need to feed or clothe or help another — there is no limit on the amount of charity given. It is even admirable to give more than a fifth, as in this case. (See Ahavat Chessed by the Chafetz Chaim, 20:2)

The Maharsha on our sugya asks why charity to strangers should precede the needs of his own daughter and answers in a way that he notes is not too satisfactory.

  • Ta’anit 24a

“One who mourns for Jerusalem merits and sees her happiness, and one who does not mourn over Jerusalem does not see her happiness.”

This oft-quoted statement is taught in a beraita on our daf and is based on a verse in Yeshayahu chapter 66. It has been pointed out that the statement is in the present tense and not in the future: “merits”, “sees” — instead of “will merit”, “will see”. If one mourns the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and Jerusalem, he merits that G-d will right now “open his eyes” to see the rebuilding and current happiness of Jerusalem. And, as a result, he is happy as well (Maharsha).

  • Ta’anit 30b

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at [email protected] and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to Talmud Tips

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.