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Using stolen money to give charity
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 3:44 pm
I know this is a strange question, and I’m just looking for discussion. No one is the expert or knows anything definitively.

So let’s say, theoretically, there’s a frum wealthy man who gives millions to all these frum tzedakahs. However, some of his money is illegal. Maybe all, who knows. I’m not saying I know a situation like this, but... there are a lot of people who are in prison for fraud and other financial crimes that gave to charities.

My question is: if the charity is l’sheim shamayim, then how could it be tainted with ill-gotten funds? How could it be that the good in this world relies on the bad?

And does any tzedakah ever refuse to take money from these people? I’ve never heard of this, only in the movies. In the movies it’s always “it’s blood money, I won’t take it”, but this never happens in real life.
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southernbubby




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 3:52 pm
Until a tzedukah knows that the funds are obtained illegally, don't they have a right to accept it?
What if a person donates a portion of his inheritance and then the will is disputed?
If a person went on eBay and bought merchandise, not realizing that it was stolen, who has the obligation to return it to the owner; the buyer, the seller, or neither? Or both?
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amother




Plum
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 3:53 pm
My husband knows someone who doesn't eat by his rich father cuz it's probably stolen food. His father is prone to shoplifting (a sickness or what).

Unless someone knows for a fact that it's not kosher money, why shouldn't they be able to have hanua from the donation gotten?
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 3:58 pm
OP, did you ask this same question a few months ago? There was a post that was almost the exact same question (about tzedaka being given but the money was tainted) as this.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 4:21 pm
shabbatiscoming wrote:
OP, did you ask this same question a few months ago? There was a post that was almost the exact same question (about tzedaka being given but the money was tainted) as this.


Really? No that wasn’t me! And here I thought I was all original. I guess there’s nothing new under Imamother.

What’s that thread?
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 4:22 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Really? No that wasn’t me! And here I thought I was all original. I guess there’s nothing new under Imamother.

What’s that thread?
Ill try to find it but I have no recollection as to what it was called.
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naturalmom5




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 4:49 pm
No need for hypothethicals.. The Gam' brings an exact case.

So one steals gold from a prince and gives to aniyim

He gets punished for the theft and zchusim for the mitzva of tzodoka


I do not understand for the life of me

" Kol hamalamed...... cilu melamed tifilus"

I keep bumping into women who dont learn Gam' and speak tiflus mamash...
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ora_43




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jul 21 2020, 5:01 pm
Good and bad are very tightly intertwined in this world. We just had a thread about people volunteering with impure motivations, come to think of it.

Most 'impure good' isn't quite on the scale of tzedaka money that came straight from a business scam. But I don't think it's so strange to have something that's l'shem shamayim, in theory, be a mix of good motives and bad motives and altruism and greed in practice. Humans are like that.

(I'm not saying the motive for giving tzedaka is mixed. Sometimes it's purely self-centered. But it's not odd to me that sometimes good things are done for selfish reasons.

And then, not to contradict that, but sometimes the 'tzedaka' is actually warped for evil purposes. Eg terrorist groups, cults, racist organizations, etc, that use charity to win support.)

If a charity did refuse someone's money, we probably wouldn't hear about it. In terms of the halacha, afaik (based on a responsa by Rav Dov Lior), if the money was definitely obtained through crime, it should be refused; if it could be legal money (eg the person sometimes cheats at business but also has legal businesses), then it can (should?) be accepted.
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amother




Seagreen
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:26 am
It’s interesting you bring this up
I was thinking about the same thing and my husband told me a story that a man felt bad giving Tzeddaka Bec he saw that the yeshivas collector had a brand new wagon and nice clothes etc he’s like my money is going to pay for all this? I don’t remember who it was but the rosh yeshiva said that if your money comes from a pure source (I.e. not stolen, earned honestly) heaven will make sure it it used Lishma - direct to the yeshiva. If the money is tainted it will be used for these extras , like a new wagon for the collector etc etc. Basically if you give pure Tzeddaka with pure intentions it will go to the right place.

So who knows where all their Tzeddaka money truly ends up? Only honest money will be used for pure causes.
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amother




Ecru
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 8:21 am
I know a rabbi who was approached by feds offering him a few million dollar donation from Epstein estate. They have to give away a certain amount of charity and no one one wants to accept.
Not sure more details so don't bother pouncing on this and explaining how it isn't possible. This is what he has said.
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amother




Fuchsia
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 8:34 am
amother [ Seagreen ] wrote:
It’s interesting you bring this up
I was thinking about the same thing and my husband told me a story that a man felt bad giving Tzeddaka Bec he saw that the yeshivas collector had a brand new wagon and nice clothes etc he’s like my money is going to pay for all this? I don’t remember who it was but the rosh yeshiva said that if your money comes from a pure source (I.e. not stolen, earned honestly) heaven will make sure it it used Lishma - direct to the yeshiva. If the money is tainted it will be used for these extras , like a new wagon for the collector etc etc. Basically if you give pure Tzeddaka with pure intentions it will go to the right place.

So who knows where all their Tzeddaka money truly ends up? Only honest money will be used for pure causes.
[u]


There's nothing in this world that makes perfect human sense. Bad things happen to good people all the time, and the wicked suffer. I have a hard time believing that there's an exception to the rule and it's tzedaka lishma. Why do you think tzedaka lishma is never misused? Why do you think tzedakah from ill gotten funds always contributed towards extras?

Many big yeshivos have full time fund raisers. These are people who collect money every day. I think it's standard for these people to keep 20% of the money they collect and use it on whatever they want as it is their personal earnings/income.
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amother




Seagreen
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 11:47 am
Quote:
Why do you think tzedaka lishma is never misused? Why do you think tzedakah from ill gotten funds always contributed towards extras?

Many big yeshivos have full time fund raisers. These are people who collect money every day. I think it's standard for these people to keep 20% of the money they collect and use it on whatever they want as it is their personal earnings/income.


You’re absolutely correct! Hashem runs the world perfectly but we don’t always see it bec it’s hidden from us. But what they were trying to point out is that if you have the right intentions and give pure money that money will go towards a good cause. Tainted money isn’t always so straight like that. Ive has weird experiences getting money from a source that wasn’t shomer shabbos and the money could’ve been earned that way (meaning by working on shabbos and other not such straight deals etc) and I wasn’t able to use that money for anything productive. All I used it for was weird bills that popped up that I never usually had. Just my experience.

Imagine you give $10 to a collector and someone else gives $100 of tainted money. Your money can go directly to the child who needs literally bread and milk - and his money can go to pay a credit card transaction fee or some other expense to run the organization. I’m NOT saying it’s always so straight and it doesn’t look perfect to our eye and YES it’s confusing and harsh world we live in when rich people get honored for giving tzedaka from tainted money and all that. It’s just a concept to comfort yourself that your tzedaka given from the heart is going further then theirs.
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soap suds




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 11:53 am
amother [ Ecru ] wrote:
I know a rabbi who was approached by feds offering him a few million dollar donation from Epstein estate. They have to give away a certain amount of charity and no one one wants to accept.
Not sure more details so don't bother pouncing on this and explaining how it isn't possible. This is what he has said.
In a similar vein, I know a Holocaust survivor who refused to take the reparations offered to her. But We’re going off topic here.
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leah233




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 12:37 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:


And does any tzedakah ever refuse to take money from these people? I’ve never heard of this, only in the movies. In the movies it’s always “it’s blood money, I won’t take it”, but this never happens in real life.


Other than the fact that movies have no connection to reality where do you think the movies got that idea from?

As is well known Barbara Streisand offered a million to YOB where she went as a child but Rav Manis Mandel refused to take money from a person like her. (Even the sotton himself would not accuse Rav Manis Mandel of ever having knowingly benefited from dishonesty)

I also heard the following story from one of the people personally involved.

In the 1970s Rav Schneur Kotler was fundraising in Los Angeles for Lakewood Yeshiva which was in a desperate financial situation. A very famous secular Jewish movie producer agreed to give a lot of money if Rav Schneur Kotler were to meet with him personally. Rav Schneur Kotler absolutely refused saying there was no way he can meet that person without implying some sort of condoning of him. Perhaps that is how the idea snuck into Hollywood
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imasoftov




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:00 pm
I again wonder if the plaque by the door of the YU dorm room with Bernard Bergman's name on it is still there.
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amother




Turquoise
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:10 pm
Most big money is tainted.
Fact.

Some dirtier than others, but still dirty.
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amother




Papaya
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:12 pm
This question bothers me because there are Jewish Russian oligarchs who are major donors to tzedaka. Like, single-handedly funding major organizations and yeshivos.

Yet they made their money in very dirty ways and by propping up some very evil people.

I feel so uncomfortable when I see their names pop up in the news. I feel so disgusted by what they do and how they earned their fortune but I know people who are directly benefiting from their money. And it reflects so badly on our organizations to have our name associated with them.

I guess it's better to be a scammer and mobster who gives tzedaka with their mobbed up money than not to give. But why do we need to depend on scammers and mobsters?

Personally I think it's wrong for organizations to kiss up to and cultivate people they know are dirty.
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chocolatecake




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:18 pm
I have heard of some Yeshivas that only accept "frum" money. Money from ppl that are shomer shabbos.
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amother




Taupe
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:22 pm
This thread reminds me that I once had a non Frum camper who said that one day they were going home and they saw their neighbor drunk and sleeping by his front door with his wallet next to him. Her grandmother took the wallet and told her granddaughter that she’s giving it to charity it’s better than him using it to get drunk.
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amother




Fuchsia
 

Post  Wed, Jul 22 2020, 1:27 pm
amother [ Seagreen ] wrote:
Quote:
Why do you think tzedaka lishma is never misused? Why do you think tzedakah from ill gotten funds always contributed towards extras?

Many big yeshivos have full time fund raisers. These are people who collect money every day. I think it's standard for these people to keep 20% of the money they collect and use it on whatever they want as it is their personal earnings/income.


You’re absolutely correct! Hashem runs the world perfectly but we don’t always see it bec it’s hidden from us. But what they were trying to point out is that if you have the right intentions and give pure money that money will go towards a good cause. Tainted money isn’t always so straight like that. Ive has weird experiences getting money from a source that wasn’t shomer shabbos and the money could’ve been earned that way (meaning by working on shabbos and other not such straight deals etc) and I wasn’t able to use that money for anything productive. All I used it for was weird bills that popped up that I never usually had. Just my experience.

Imagine you give $10 to a collector and someone else gives $100 of tainted money. Your money can go directly to the child who needs literally bread and milk - and his money can go to pay a credit card transaction fee or some other expense to run the organization. I’m NOT saying it’s always so straight and it doesn’t look perfect to our eye and YES it’s confusing and harsh world we live in when rich people get honored for giving tzedaka from tainted money and all that. It’s just a concept to comfort yourself that your tzedaka given from the heart is going further then theirs.



I hear you, but there's no way to demonstrate that any of what you're saying is actually true. Yeshivos accept money from anyone without the slightest verification. The money collected is used to pay the yeshivas bills.

I'm all for comfort and feeling good about things, but I only want to believe things that are actually EMES, and not things that are comfortable. For example I can't imagine that yeshivos (who accept all tzedaka from anyone) haven't used some ill gotten money to build yeshivos or pay rebbaim.
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