Thursday, August 29, 2019

צדקה Pushkas

Parshas Hashavua ראה
עשר תעשר

The concept of Tzedaka boxes (Pushkas) goes back
to the times of the Bais Hamikdash*. They were
called Shofros. It was shaped like a Shofar one side
narrow, where the coins were fed. The other end
was wide for the coins to accumulate.

The Kollelim (קופת ר' מאיר בעל הנס) were the first to
introduce Pushkas to be placed in every home.

Until then Tzadaka was raised by Gaboim
approaching individuals for Tzedaka. The Gaboim
usually approached only the well to do Ba’alei Batim.
The not so well to do Ba'alei Batim were not approached.
Having a Pushka in the house made it possible to
raise funds even from the poor and the not so rich.
Dropping single pennies in the Pushka even the poor
were able to do. Over the year it accumulated to a
substantial amount.

It also made it possible to raise funds from women. Gaboim
would never approach women for Tzedaka. Having a Pushka
in the home, it was mostly the women who inserted the
money in the Pushka.
This was done regularly before Hadlakas Neiros and many
other occasions.

Another concept they introduced was to attach the name

ר' מאיר בעל הנס to the Pushka. The segulos they claimed for
having a  ר' מאיר בעל הנס Pushka in the house was accepted by
all.  No Jewish home was without such a Pushka. It became the
holiest and most important Tzedaka even up until today.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Yeshivas Mir
Introduced Pushkas to raise funds for the Yeshiva.
The Kollelim were upset and claimed that since they
invented the Pushka concept for homes, therefore, they
have the exclusive rights to it. No other
Mossad shall be allowed to distribute Pushkas.

R. Shmuel Salant zt”l  and other Gedolei Eretz
Yisroel agreed with the Kollelim. On the other hand,
The Chutz La’aretz Gedolim sided with Yeshivas Mir.

It is interesting, The Aderes, while he was Rov in Mir sided
with the Yeshiva and held the Kollelim have no exclusive
rights to Pushkas.
When the Aderes joined R. Shmuel Salant’s Bais Din
In Yerushalayim, he changed his mind and supported the
Kollelim’s exclusive rights to Pushkas.

*Ms. Shekolim Perek 6 (י"ג שופרות )

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