Laws Pertaining to Giving and Collecting Tzedakah 

  1. A person should be very careful not to allow tzedakah funds to get mixed up with his own money. If a person finds money in his house and is in doubt whether it is tzedakah or not, the poskim disagree on the din, but clearly, but letzait y’day shamayim a person is required to give it to tzedakah. 
  2. Expenses incurred in collecting tzedakah may be taken from the tzedakah collected. The cost of those expenses is, itself, considered tzedakah. A person who collects tzedakah is permitted to receive a portion of the funds he collects according to the agreement he reaches with the management of the institution for which he is collecting. But person who is collecting independently, or the director of an institution who raises funds should consult with a Rav to establish the amount he may keep for himself. In this way he avoids suspicion of stealing, for not everyone is capable of determining for himself if he is permitted to receive a portion of the funds and how much of it he may keep for himself. I any case, the percentage cannot be very great, for the donor did not have in mind that he should retain a large percentage of the tzedakah he gave for himself.  
  3. A person who keeps a percentage of the tzedakah he collects is considered a shomer sacher and is obligated to cover any losses resulting from theft or loss of the funds he collected. If he doesn’t keep a percentage for himself, but benefits from he money he collected by using the cash, he is also considered a shomer sacher. Even if he does not benefit from the funds he collects in any way, the poskim are not in accord on his status and some hold that he is, nevertheless, responsible for tzedakah he collected as a shomer sacher. But all agree that a person who is not as a careful as he should be to keep the tzedakah he collected safe is obligated to cover an losses that result from theft or loss. 
  4. If money is collected for a specific poor person and more is collected than is required, the funds remaining belong to that person. The poskim discuss at length how to handle tzedakah that was collected under the mistaken assumption that funds were required 
  5. Those who collect tzedakah should be careful to distribute it immediately to those for whom it was collected, even if it was not collected explicitly for immediate distribution. It is forbidden for the person to collected it to hold it. He must distribute at the first opportunity. According to the Shulchan Aruch, a person who collects tzedakah may not borrow it for his own use even when it cannot be distributed for some time. Nevertheless, it is now commonly accepted as permissible. 
  6. If a person sets apart eighteen or some multiple of eighteen monetary units of tzedakah, he may add to it without losing the benefit of the segula of the number eighteen, for eighteen is included in whatever number results from the amount he adds. Similarly, a person can add to the two candles that we light on Shabbos, one representing shemor and one representing zachor candles, without losing the symbolic value of the two candles.  
  7. If a person puts money aside from which he intends to give tzedakah on Purim, and some of it is left over after Purim, is he allowed to use it, or must it be given to tzedakah? If he set the money aside intending to give it as tzedakah, then it remains tzedakah, for both in thought and deed he had designated the money for tzedakah. But if set it aside with the idea of simply having money available from which he could give tzedakah, i.e., in setting it aside, he did not have in mind that he was designating it all for tzedakah, then he may use what is left over for any purpose.
MDhalachalMaase is written by HaRav HaGaon R’ Shammai Gross
Translated by Rabbi Tzvi Abraham