MUST ONE SELL HIS KELIM BEFORE TAKING TZEDAKAH? [Tzedakah:receiving]
67b: Mar Ukva used to give 400 Zuz to a particular Oni every Erev Yom Kipur. Once, he sent the money with his son. His son said that the man does not need the money, for he saw them sprinkling old wine on the floor to scent the house.
Mar Ukva realized that they were very delicate, so he sent double the amount he used to send.
R. Chanina used to give four Zuz to a certain man every Erev Shabbos. Once, he sent the money with his wife. His wife said that he does not need the money, for she heard them saying 'on what should we dine today, on linen cloths, or colored silk cloths?'
R. Chanina: He is a swindler!
(Mishnah): We do not force one (who requests Tzedakah) to sell his house or the Kelim he uses.
Contradiction (Beraisa): If he used gold Kelim, he will use silver. If he used silver Kelim, he will use copper.
Answer #1 (Rav Zvid): He must sell a bed or table of gold or silver. He may keep cups and bowls of gold or silver.
Objection: Presumably, he need not use cheaper cups and bowls because they repulse him. Likewise, he can refuse to accept an (inferior) bed and table!
Answer #2 (Rava brei d'Rabah): He must sell a silver Machreisha (a Kelim used to scratch oneself).
Answer #3 (Rav Papa): It depends on whether or not he already collected (this will be explained).
Shabbos 118a (Mishnah): One who has food for two meals may not take from the Tamchuy (food that is collected and distributed daily to the poor). One who has food for 14 meals may not take from the Kupah (money collected and distributed weekly to those ashamed to take from the Tamchuy).
Rif and Rosh (11): A Mishnah says that we do not force him to sell his house or the Kelim he uses. A Beraisa says that if he used gold Kelim, he will use silver. If he used silver Kelim, he will use copper.
Rishon l'Tziyon: If he used gold Kelim, he may use silver. We do not force him to descend to copper.
Rif and Rosh (11): Rabah bar Rav Huna answers that he must sell a silver scratcher. Rav Papa answers that he can keep his Kelim as long as he collects privately, but he must sell them before taking from what is collected for the Kupah.
Ran (DH Yerushalmi): The Yerushalmi asks a contradiction between our Beraisa and a Beraisa that permits him to use silk clothing. It answers that the case of (direct benefit by) his body is different.
Rosh (11): R. Tam explains that he must sell his Kelim before taking from the Kupah. Once he took, if he later gets a nice Keli, he need not sell it. Rashi explains that if a rich person took gifts for the poor, we make him repay. This is a fine, for no one can claim the money. If he cannot pay, he must sell his finer Kelim.
Rambam (Hilchos Matanos Aniyim 9:14): If an Oni needs, and he has a Chatzer and household Kelim but does not have 200 Zuz, even if they are of gold and silver he can receive. We do not force him to sell them. It is a Mitzvah to give to him. This refers to Kelim for eating and drinking, sheets, clothing and similar things. One must sell a silver scratcher or Eli (a board for crushing grain) and not take Tzedakah. This is before he takes from people. After he takes Tzedakah we force him to sell his Kelim and buy cheaper ones, then he may take.
Radvaz: One might have thought that it is not a Mitzvah to give to him, since he could sell his Kelim.
R. Yonah (in Shitah Mekubetzes 68a DH b'Machreisha): Only one person out of 1000 makes a silver scratcher, therefore he must sell it.
R. Yonah (in Shitah DH v'Omer): If one was used to using Kelim of gold and silver, he must sell the gold and use silver. If he used to use only gold, he need not sell it.
Tosfos (68a DH bi'Talei): When R. Chanina heard that the family dined on linen and silk tablecloths, he did not send more money. This is unlike sprinkling wine, for one cannot be finicky about this.
Shulchan Aruch (YD 253:1): If he has a house and many Kelim but does not have 200 Zuz, he can receive Tzedakah. He need not sell them, even if they are of gold and silver. This refers to Kelim for eating and drinking, clothing, sheets, etc. One must sell a silver scratcher or Eli and not take Tzedakah.
Beis Yosef (DH u'Mah she'Chosav Yesh Lo Bayis): An Eli is not considered a Keli for food, since it is used for raw food, and food is not served on it.
Question (Beis Yosef DH veha'Rambam): The Rif, Rambam and Rosh explain that the last two answers (about when one must sell Kelim) do not argue; both are true. I do not know why the Tur obligates selling a silver lamp or table. This is like Rav Zvid, who was refuted!
Answer #1 (Taz 4): In the days of the Gemara, there was a small table in front of each person. One could say that he cannot bear an inferior table. Nowadays, we have one big table for the entire household. The Tur teaches that he may not keep it, for it is primarily for his household.
Answer #2 (Bach DH v'Ika): The Rambam did not mention a lamp or table among things that one need not sell. He explains that Rav Zevid does not discuss a table, rather, a tablecloth. One can refuse to use inferior Kelim only if the body directly benefits from them. Rabah teaches that he must sell a scratcher, even though the body benefits from it, since it is used only in the bathhouse. (Note: perhaps this is unlike Tosfos, who says that one cannot be finicky about tablecloths.)
Shulchan Aruch (ibid.): This is when he takes privately from individuals. He may not take from the Kupah before selling his Kelim.
Shach (4): If after taking he found or inherited a nice Keli, he need not sell it.
R. Akiva Eiger: The Ro'oh explains oppositely. He may continue to use what he is used to, but if he inherited Kelim after taking Tzedakah, he must sell them.
Rema: If there is an enactment not to give Tzedakah to someone with a certain amount, we do not count his house and Kelim that he uses.