THE REWARD OF TZEDAKAH (cont.)
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): One who regularly gives Tzedakah will merit to have children with Chachmah, wealth, and who know Agada (non-Halachic teachings).
Chachmah - it (the above verse) says "Yimtza Chayim";
Wealth - it says "(they will be able to give) Tzedakah";
Agadah - it says here "v'Chavod", like it says "Kavod Chachamim Yinchalu" (people who expound Agadah are greatly respected).
(Beraisa) Question: If Hash-m loves the poor, why doesn't He feed them?
Answer (R. Meir): It is to allow people to give Tzedakah and escape Gehinom.
Turnusrufus asked this of R. Akiva, and received the same answer.
Turnusrufus: Just the contrary! This is like a king who put his servant in jail and commanded not to feed him, and someone fed him. The king will be angry!
You are called His servants - "Ki Li Venei Yisrael Avadim."
R. Akiva: This is like a king who was angry at his son and put him in jail and commanded not to feed him, and someone fed him. The king will send that man a gift!
We are called His children - "Banim Atem la'Shem Elokeichem".
Turnusrufus: You are called slaves and children. When you do His will, you are children. When not, you are slaves;
Now, you are not doing His will, so you are slaves!
R. Akiva: "Paros la'Ra'ev Lachmecha" discusses a time such as now, when "v'Aniyim Merudim Tavi Vayis", and it commands to feed the hungry!
(R. Yehudah b'Rebbi Shalom): Just like one's income is fixed on Rosh Hashanah for the year, his losses (expenditures) for the year are fixed then;
If he merits, his expenditures will be for Tzedakah. If not, Romi will take the money ("v'Aniyim Merudim").
R. Yochanan Ben Zakai saw in a dream that his nephews would lose 700 Dinarim in the year. He pressed them to give Tzedakah, and induced them to give all but 17 of the 700. On the night before Yom Kipur, officers of the Kaiser came. (His nephews feared lest they take a great sum.)
R. Yochanan Ben Zakai: Don't worry. They will take only the last 17 Dinarim.
He explained how he knew. His nephews asked why he didn't tell them about the dream.
R. Yochanan Ben Zakai: I wanted you to give for the sake of the Mitzvah, without knowing that you were destined to lose the money anyway.
Rav Papa was alighting a ladder. His leg slipped, and he was about to fall. He lamented that he would die from being cast to the ground, similar to death by stoning, the punishment for desecration of Shabbos or idolatry.
Chiya bar Rav mi'Difti: Perhaps a poor person came to you and you did not give to him! (Kol Eliyahu (Devarim 15:8) - Chiya suspected that it was due to this, for the Neginos of "Paso'ach Tiftach" are Darga Tevir (the step broke). Daf Al ha'Daf, in the name of R. Chaim of Volozhin - it was due to the episode above (9a) in which he did not give to an Oni begging from door to door.)
(Beraisa - R. Yehoshua ben Korchah): Seeing one who needs Tzedakah and overlooking him is like idolatry:
It says "Bliya'al" regarding refraining from lending money, like it says about idolatry.
(Beraisa - R. Elazar b'Rebbi Yosi): All Tzedakah and Chesed that Yisrael do in this world causes great Shalom with Hash-m and advocating angels.
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): Great is Tzedakah, for it brings the redemption close.
R. Yehudah: Ten things were created in the world that are Kasheh (hard, or unyielding): a mountain is Kasheh, but iron can cut it; iron is Kasheh, but fire melts it; fire is Kasheh, but water extinguishes it; water is Kasheh, but the clouds bear it; clouds are Kasheh, but wind scatters them; wind is Kasheh, but the body contains it; the body is Kasheh, but fear breaks it; fear is Kasheh, but wine dispels it; wine is Kasheh, but sleep negates its effect;
Death is more Kasheh than all of these, and "u'Tzdakah Tatzil mi'Maves."
(R. Dosta'i b'Rebbi Yanai): Hash-m's ways are unlike people' ways!
If one gives a big gift to a mortal king, he is unsure whether the king will accept it;
Even if he accepts it, the giver is not sure whether he will get to see the king.
One who gives a Perutah to Tzedakah receives the Divine Presence - "b'Tzedek Echezeh Fanecha".
R. Elazar would give a Perutah to Tzedakah before praying - "b'Tzedek Echezeh Fanecha".
Question: What does the continuation mean - "Esbe'ah v'Hakitz Temunasecha?
Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): This refers to Chachamim, who deny themselves sleep in this world, and Hash-m is Masbi'a (satiates) them with His presence in the world to come.
(R. Yochanan): "Malve Hash-m Chonen Dal" - if not for the verse, it would be forbidden to say such a thing!
Hash-m considers Himself to be like a borrower (who is like a slave) to one who gives Tzedakah.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): It says "Lo Yo'il Hon b'Yom Evrah u'Tzdakah Tatzil mi'Maves"; and "Lo Yo'ilu Otzeros Resha u'Tzdakah Tatzil mi'Maves";
Question: Why must it mention two Tzedakos?
Answer: One saves from a harsh death, and one saves from judgment in Gehinom.
Question: Which saves from judgment in Gehinom?
Answer: The one about which it says "Evrah" - "Yom Evrah ha'Yom ha'Hu".
Giving without knowing to whom he gives, in a way that the receiver does not know from whom he receives, saves (Tosfos - from judgment in Gehinom, and even) from a harsh death.
Question: How can one give Tzedakah in this way?
Answer: He gives to the pouch of Tzedakah.
Question (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): To merit male children, one should distribute his money to the poor;
R. Yehoshua says, he should make his wife joyful before relations;
R. Eliezer ben Yakov says, one should not give a Perutah to the Tzedakah pouch unless the one appointed over it is as trustworthy as R. Chanina ben Tradyon.
Answer: Indeed, the counsel to give to the pouch of Tzedakah is when someone as trustworthy as R. Chanina ben Tradyon is appointed over it.
THE STATUS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TO COME
(R. Avahu): Moshe asked Hash-m what will glorify Yisrael. Hash-m answered "Ki Sisa (every Yisrael will give a half-Shekel)."
(R. Avahu): People asked Shlomo how great is the power of Tzedakah.
Shlomo: "Pizar Nasan la'Evyonim Tzidkaso Omedes la'Ad".
(R. Aba): We may learn from "Maromim Yishkon...(because) Lachmo Nitan".
(R. Avahu): People asked Shlomo ha'Melech who is (characterized as) a person of the world to come.
Shlomo: "V'Neged Zekenav Kavod".
R. Yehoshua's son Yosef left this world and returned. He recounted what he saw.
Yosef: I saw an upside-down world. (Rich) people on top here are below there, and vice-versa!
R. Yehoshua: What you saw is reality! How did Chachamim look?
Yosef: They are just as important as they are here;
They were saying 'happy is the one who comes to the world to come and remembers his learning.'
They also said that no one else has a standing like those (who sanctified Hash-m's name when) killed by the king.
Question: To which people did this refer?
Suggestion: It refers to R. Akiva and the other (nine awesome) Chachamim killed by the king.
Rejection: Even if they were not killed by the king, no one could compare to them!
Answer: Rather, it referred to those killed in Lud. (Two brothers confessed to a false accusation that the king planned to use as a pretext to kill all the Yisraelim.)
TZEDAKAH OF NOCHRIM
(Beraisa - R. Yochanan Ben Zakai) Question: What is the meaning of "Tzedakah Teromem Goy v'Chesed l'Umim Chatas"?
Answer #1 (R. Eliezer): Tzedakah elevates Yisrael, but it is a sin for Nochrim, for they give only to aggrandize themselves;
"(Daryavesh gave in order that) l'Chayei Malka u'Vnohi".
Question: One may give Tzedakah this way!
(Beraisa): One who says 'I give this Sela to Tzedakah in order that my son should live', or 'in order that I will merit the world to come" is a perfect Tzadik.
Answer: That is for Yisrael, but not for Nochrim (for if they do not get their request, they regret the whole matter).
Answer #2 (R. Yehoshua): Tzedakah elevates Yisrael, but it is a sin for Nochrim, for they give only to prolong their reign;
(Nebuchadnetzar gave in order that) "v'Chata'ach b'Tzidkah Feruk (he will redeem his sin through Tzedakah)... Teheve Archah li'Shlevsach (and he will have serenity for a long time)";
Answer #3 (R. Gamliel): Tzedakah elevates Yisrael, but it is a sin for Nochrim, for they give only to be haughty;
Every haughty person falls to Gehinom - "Zed Yahir...b'Evras Zadon" ("Evras" refers to Gehinom, as above).
Answer #4 (R. Eliezer ha'Moda'ai): Tzedakah elevates Yisrael, but it is a sin for Nochrim, for they give only to revile Yisrael.
(When Nevuzaradan (Nebuchadnetzar's chief executioner) released Yirmeyahu (or was zealous for Hash-m), he said) "Ki Chatasem la'Shem."
Answer #5 (R. Nechunyah ben ha'Kaneh): Tzedakah and Chesed elevate Yisrael, but they are a sin for Nochrim.
R. Yochanan Ben Zakai: R. Nechunyah's answer is the better than my answer and all of yours, for he explains that Tzedakah and Chesed refer to Yisrael.
Question: How did R. Yochanan Ben Zakai himself answer?
Answer (Beraisa - R. Yochanan Ben Zakai): Just like a Chatas offering atones for Yisrael, Tzedakah atones for Nochrim.
The mother of Shevor Malka sent 400 Dinarim to R. Ami. He did not accept. She sent to Rava, and he accepted, for the sake of Shalom with the king.
R. Ami heard of this and was disturbed. Doesn't Rava agree that "bi'Vosh Ketzirah Tishavarna (when the king's merits are used up, he will fall)"!
Rava accepted for the sake of Shalom with the king.
Question: Isn't R. Ami also concerned for Shalom with the king?
Answer: One could accept the money and give it to Nochrim!
Question: Indeed, Rava did so!
Answer: R. Ami did not hear that.