Feb 20, 2019

Interesting Psak: Matching Donations

The trend now in fundraising is matching funds. it has been big for a while already, but recently there has been an explosion of sorts of organizations running massive fundraising campaigns with matching funds, turning your, for example, 100nis donation into 200nis. Personally I am somewhat skeptical that there really are matching funds being donated in many of these cases and assume much of those matching funds were donated, or going to be donated, anyway and they are only being called matching funds in order to encourage more nations to capitalize on the supposed matching funds. Or maybe there is nothing at all and it is just a marketing bluff.

Be that as it may, whether they are real or not, the question was posed to Rav Chaim Kanievsky asking if when I donate 100nis and the organization really gets 200nis from it, can I consider my donation to have been 200nis, or is my donation only what I actually physically donated - the 100nis in this example?

While it might seem obvious to me or you, this fellow decided to ask the question anyway...and Rav Kanievsky answered that you can only count your actual donation, the 100nis in our example, as your tzedaka donation, not the matching funds. However, Rav Chaim Kanievsky added, you do get some extra merit for the extra money that was donated because of you...

The more interesting question on the concept of matching donations is the second one in the Kikar article and it has nothing to do with money. Rather, matching donations of pages of gemara to be learned..

A yeshiva decided to run a learning campaign in honor of one of the donors of the yeshiva planning a visit. They wanted to finish shas among all the boys and have a siyyum. After dividing everything up, the boys found themselves still short a number of tractates.. They went to a by in the yeshiva who is the biggest masmid and capable of learning the balance all on his own and asked him to take on himself the balance of the learning. This young man refused saying that they always rely on him to learn the extra stuff, so he does not want to do it. He then offered a matching contribution of sorts - for every amount of the balance taken by any of the other boys, he would match it and learn an equal amount, thus enabling the completion of shas.

A short while later, some of the boys backed down from their commitments saying it was too much and they would not be able to do it - the siyyum would only be on the majority of shas, not the entire shas. The masmid heard that and said if they are not learning their parts, he won't learn his matching parts, and the siyyum will still be on a lot but not on nearly everything.

They went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky asking if he should have to learn his portion and commitment to make a bigger siyyum even though the others backed out.

Rav Kanievsky did not want to get into the halachic issue but said what one boy commits to learning should have no connection what anyone else learns, and if he committed to learning a certain amount he should really learn it, even if he has a good claim. The argument presented is not appropriate regarded learning torah.

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1 comment:

  1. Seems such a trivial reason to bother one of our Gdolei HaDor (especially when the Jewish community worldwide faces so many major issues). Almost disrepectful to treat him like an umpire for these questions which could surely be handled by any competent rav, no?


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