- Question: [Thursday, 10th Kisleiv 5781]
I have a dilemma regarding the daily charity that we are supposed to give prior to prayer. Basically, I don’t always have coins available to give to charity before and during prayer and because of that I end up a lot of times just not giving. People think it’s so easy to make change and I see that is not so easy and with most commerce today taking place digitally there is less flow of cash and coins around. Even my bank in my country refuses to provide me coins for purchase and say they no longer carry the service. What do you suggest I do?
Indeed, there is a decades-old charity organization established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the exact purpose above of taking the place of the daily distribution of charity prior to prayer known as Keren Hashana. This organization was started in the year 5714/1953, and was under the auspices of the Rebbe, and is currently under the leadership of the Lubavitch organization under the Rebbes Sec. Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky. The Rebbe explained on numerous occasions the purpose of this charity fund is to take the place of the daily distribution of charity before prayer, as at times people may forget to give, and this organization guarantees the distribution. The Rebbe on numerous occasions encouraged his followers and Jews in general to donate towards this fund and that those who have not done so till now, should do so the sooner the better. The following is the link you can use to make this donation, starting with a bare minimum of $18 a year, which is a very affordable sum: https://www.lubavitch.com/donate/keren-hashana/ I thus encourage you and all others to contribute towards this organization which was established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, encouraged by him for one to contribute towards, and help him fulfill the mitzvah of giving charity before prayer.
The following are some additional points that the Rebbe mentioned regarding this fund:
- The giving of this charity affects not just the daily prayer of every single day of the year, but also affects one’s endeavors throughout the day, of every day of the year, that they be more successful and blessed.
- It should be given immediately after Simchas Torah.
- When one makes the donation for all the days of the year it works retroactively. Meaning that even if one donates in middle of the year, by doing so he merits it to have been considered that he started giving from the beginning of that year, as the distributors stipulate in the beginning of the year that they are donating also on behalf of all the future givers, similar to what was done in the temple regarding the half shekel distribution.
- One should give as much as he can afford and even more so, and should not fulfill his obligation with a poor man’s donation if he is indeed not poor.
- The money may be deducted from one’s Maaser funds.
Regarding the seeming obvious question regarding the seemingly obvious question as to how the above fund can fulfill the directive of daily donation prior to prayer when people pray at different times and are found at different time zones, seemingly the idea is that each day the sun for that day is considered given by the donor to the distribution fund prior to the start of his prayer. Meaning that just as normally when you put a $0.10 coin into the charity box it doesn’t get to the poor person immediately but is nonetheless considered part of the daily charity prior to prayer so too regarding this donation that the money is considered each day prior to on’s prayer towards the organization, who either will get it later on today is already done so and it works retroactively on one’s behalf, as stated above.
Sources: See Likkutei Sichos volume 2 pages 651- 654; Toras Menachem Vol. 21, 5718 p. 145; volume 24 5719 pp. 167-168; Igros Kodesh 21: 376; Shaareiy Tzedaka 97