שבאו לינשא משיאין את היתומה ואחר כך משיאין את היתום מפני שבושתה של אשה מרובה משל איש:
who have come to appeal to the charity fund to be married off, the administrators marry off the orphan girl first and afterward they marry off the orphan boy, because the humiliation of a woman who is not married is greater than that of an unmarried man.
ת"ר יתום שבא לישא שוכרין לו בית ומציעין לו מטה וכל כלי תשמישו ואחר כך משיאין לו אשה שנאמר (דברים טו, ח) די מחסורו אשר יחסר לו די מחסורו זה הבית אשר יחסר זה מטה ושלחן לו זו אשה וכן הוא אומר (בראשית ב, יח) אעשה לו עזר כנגדו:
The Sages taught: Concerning an orphan boy who has come to marry, the community tries its utmost to provide for all of his needs. The charities rent a house for him, arrange for him a bed and all his utensils, and thereafter they marry him a wife, as it is stated: “But you shall surely open your hand to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his deficiency in that which is deficient for him” (Deuteronomy 15:8). With regard to the phrase “sufficient for his deficiency,” this is referring to the house. “Which is deficient”; this is referring to a bed and table. “For him [lo]”; this is referring to a wife. And similarly the verse states: “I will make him [lo] a helpmate for him” (Genesis 2:18), when God created a wife for Adam.
תנו רבנן די מחסורו אתה מצווה עליו לפרנסו ואי אתה מצווה עליו לעשרו אשר יחסר לו אפילו סוס לרכוב עליו ועבד לרוץ לפניו אמרו עליו על הלל הזקן שלקח לעני בן טובים אחד סוס לרכוב עליו ועבד לרוץ לפניו פעם אחת לא מצא עבד לרוץ לפניו ורץ לפניו שלשה מילין:
Concerning this issue, the Sages taught: “Sufficient for his deficiency”; this teaches that you are commanded with respect to the pauper to support him, but you are not commanded with respect to him to make him wealthy, as the obligation encompasses only that which he lacks, as indicated by the word deficient. However, the verse also states: “Which is deficient for him”; this includes even a horse upon which to ride and a servant to run in front of him for the sake of his stature, if necessary. For someone accustomed to these advantages, their absences constitute a true deficiency, not an extravagant indulgence. The Gemara relates: They said about Hillel the Elder that he obtained for a poor person of noble descent a horse upon which to ride and a servant to run in front of him. One time he did not find a servant to run in front of him, and Hillel himself ran in front of him for three mil, to fulfill the dictate “which is deficient for him.”
תנו רבנן מעשה באנשי גליל העליון שלקחו לעני בן טובים אחד מציפורי ליטרא בשר בכל יום ליטרא בשר מאי רבותא אמר רב הונא ליטרא בשר משל עופות ואיבעית אימא בליטרא בשר ממש רב אשי אמר התם כפר קטן היה בכל יומא הוה מפסדי חיותא אמטולתיה:
The Sages taught: There was an incident involving the people of the Upper Galilee, who bought for a poor person of noble descent from the city of Tzippori a litra of meat every day. The Gemara asks: If they provided him with the reasonable ration of a litra of meat, what is the novelty in this incident? Why does it bear repeating? Rav Huna said: It was a litra of meat of poultry, which is very expensive. And if you wish, say instead that for the weight of a litra of coins, they bought him actual red meat. The price of ordinary meat was so expensive that they had to pay the exorbitant price of a litra of coins. Rav Ashi said they did not spend a litra of coins for him. Rather, there, in the Galilee, it was a small village, and every day they would lose an entire animal just for him. They would slaughter an animal daily, simply to provide him with fresh meat, although there was otherwise no market for such a plentiful supply of meat in the village.
ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי נחמיה אמר ליה במה אתה סועד א"ל בבשר שמן ויין ישן רצונך שתגלגל עמי בעדשים גלגל עמו בעדשים ומת אמר אוי לו לזה שהרגו נחמיה אדרבה אוי לו לנחמיה שהרגו לזה מיבעי ליה אלא איהו הוא דלא איבעי ליה לפנוקי נפשיה כולי האי
The Gemara relates another incident concerning charity. A certain person came before Rabbi Neḥemya to request charity. He said to him: On what do you normally dine? He said to him: I usually dine on fatty meat and aged wine. Rabbi Neḥemya asked him: Is it your wish to belittle yourself and partake together with me in a meal of lentils, which is my regular food? He partook with him of lentils, and he died, since he was not accustomed to this food. Rabbi Neḥemya said: Woe to this one who was killed by Neḥemya. The Gemara wonders: On the contrary, Rabbi Neḥemya should have said: Woe to Neḥemya who killed this one. The Gemara responds: Rather, Rabbi Neḥemya meant that it was he, the pauper, who should not have pampered himself so much. The poor man was to blame for his own death. His excessive indulgence rendered him incapable of digesting simple foods such as lentils.
ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבא אמר לו במה אתה סועד אמר לו בתרנגולת פטומה ויין ישן אמר ליה ולא חיישת לדוחקא דציבורא א"ל אטו מדידהו קאכילנא מדרחמנא קאכילנא דתנינא (תהלים קמה, טו) עיני כל אליך ישברו ואתה נותן להם את אכלם בעתו בעתם לא נאמר אלא בעתו מלמד שכל אחד ואחד נותן הקב"ה פרנסתו בעתו
The Gemara relates another story. A certain person came before Rava to request charity. He said to him: On what do you normally dine? He said to him: On a fattened hen and aged wine. He said to him: And were you not concerned for causing a burden to the community by expecting such opulent foods? He said to him: Is that to say that it is from their funds that I eat? I eat from the support of the Merciful One. This would seem to be a reasonable argument, as we already learned that in the verse “the eyes of all wait for You, and You give them their food in its time” (Psalms 145:15), the phrase: At their time, is not stated, rather “in its time.” This teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, gives each and every one his personally appropriate sustenance at its proper time, and the community is merely His agent in discharging His will. Therefore, the man is justified in maintaining his standard.
אדהכי אתאי אחתיה דרבא דלא חזיא ליה תליסרי שני ואתיא ליה תרנגולת פטומה ויין ישן אמר מאי דקמא א"ל נענתי לך קום אכול
In the meantime, while they were talking, Rava’s sister, who had not seen him for thirteen years, came. And as a gift, she brought him a fattened hen and aged wine. Rava said to himself: What is this that happened in front of me that suddenly I am brought food that I do not usually eat? He then understood that this was a providential response to what he had earlier said to the man. Rava said to him: I have responded [na’aneti] to your contention. Arise and eat.
תנו רבנן אין לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס נותנין לו לשום הלואה וחוזרין ונותנין לו לשום מתנה דברי רבי מאיר וחכמים אומרים נותנין לו לשום מתנה וחוזרין ונותנין לו לשום הלואה לשום מתנה הא לא שקיל אמר רבא לפתוח לו לשום מתנה
§ The Sages taught: If an individual does not have sufficient means of support and does not want to be supported from charity funds, the charities provide him funds as a loan in a dignified manner, and then they go back and give the funds to him as a gift; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say: They give him funds as a gift, and then they go back and give the funds to him as a loan. The Gemara wonders about the Rabbis’ ruling: How can we give it as a gift? After all, he does not want to take it as a gift. The Gemara answers that Rava said: The Rabbis’ instruction is to begin discussions with him by offering the assistance as a gift. If he refuses, the charities give it to him as a loan, but they treat it as a gift and refrain from attempting to collect a debt.
יש לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס נותנין לו לשום מתנה וחוזרין ונפרעין ממנו חוזרין ונפרעין הימנו תו לא שקיל אמר רב פפא לאחר מיתה ר"ש אומר יש לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס אין נזקקין לו אין לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס אומרים לו הבא משכון וטול כדי שתזוח דעתו עליו
If he has sufficient funds of his own but does not want to support himself by his own funds without the assistance of charity, the charities give him aid as a gift, and then they go back and collect the debt from him. The Gemara asks: How can the administrators of the fund go back and collect from him? Would their efforts not be in vain, as subsequently he would not take their support, knowing that he would still have to pay for it? Rav Pappa said: The charities collect the accrued debt from his estate only after his death. The baraita continues: Rabbi Shimon says, disputing the opinion of the Rabbis: If he has sufficient funds and does not want to be supported by his own means, they do not get involved with him, as the community is not obligated to support him. If he does not have and does not want to be supported from charity, the charities say to him: Bring collateral and take a loan, so that his mindset should be raised for him, with the false impression that he is not receiving a handout.
ת"ר (דברים טו, ח) העבט זה שאין לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס שנותנים לו לשום הלואה וחוזרין ונותנין לו לשום מתנה תעביטנו זה שיש לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס שנותנין לו לשום מתנה וחוזרין ונפרעין הימנו לאחר מיתה דברי ר' יהודה
The Gemara cites a dispute related to the previous discussions. The Sages taught in a baraita with regard to the double expression in the Torah: “You shall open your hand to him [ha’avet ta’avitenu]” (Deuteronomy 15:8). “Ha’avet”; this is referring to one who does not have funds and does not want to be supported by charity. The policy is that the charities provide him funds as a loan and go back and give the funds to him as a gift. “Ta’avitenu”; this is referring to one who has means and does not want to support himself. The policy is that the charities provide money as a gift, and then they go back and collect from his estate after his death. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.
וחכ"א יש לו ואינו רוצה להתפרנס אין נזקקין לו ואלא מה אני מקיים תעביטנו דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם
The baraita continues: And the Rabbis say: If he has money and does not want to support himself, they do not get involved with him. The baraita asks: How then do I uphold the double expression “ha’avet ta’avitenu”? The baraita answers: The Torah spoke in the language of men, and the double form does not have halakhic significance.
מר עוקבא הוה עניא בשיבבותיה דהוה רגיל כל יומא דשדי ליה ארבעה זוזי בצינורא דדשא יום אחד אמר איזיל איחזי מאן קעביד בי ההוא טיבותא ההוא יומא נגהא ליה למר עוקבא לבי מדרשא אתיא דביתהו בהדיה
The Gemara recounts another incident related to charity. Mar Ukva had a pauper in his neighborhood, and Mar Ukva was accustomed every day to toss four dinars for him into the slot adjacent to the hinge of the door. One day the poor person said: I will go and see who is doing this service for me. That day Mar Ukva was delayed in the study hall, and his wife came with him to distribute the charity.
כיון דחזיוה דקא מצלי ליה לדשא נפק בתרייהו רהוט מקמיה עיילי לההוא אתונא דהוה גרופה נורא הוה קא מיקליין כרעיה דמר עוקבא אמרה ליה דביתהו שקול כרעיך אותיב אכרעאי חלש דעתיה אמרה ליה אנא שכיחנא בגויה דביתא ומקרבא אהנייתי
When the people in the poor man’s house saw that someone was turning the door, the pauper went out after them to see who it was. Mar Ukva and his wife ran away from before him so that he would not determine their identity, and they entered a certain furnace whose fire was already raked over and tempered but was still burning. Mar Ukva’s legs were being singed, and his wife said to him: Raise your legs and set them on my legs, which are not burned. Understanding that only his wife was spared from burns, because she was more worthy, Mar Ukva became distraught. By way of explanation, she said to him: I am normally found inside the house, and when I give charity, my assistance is ready and immediate, insofar as I distribute actual food items. Since you distribute money, which is not as readily helpful, my aid is greater than yours.
ומאי כולי האי דאמר מר זוטרא בר טוביה אמר רב ואמרי לה אמר רב הונא בר ביזנא אמר ר"ש חסידא ואמרי לה א"ר יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי נוח לו לאדם שימסור עצמו לתוך כבשן האש ואל ילבין פני חברו ברבים מנא לן מתמר דכתיב (בראשית לח, כה) היא מוצאת
The Gemara asks: And what is all this? Why did they go to such extreme lengths to avoid being discovered? The Gemara answers: It is as Mar Zutra bar Toviya said that Rav said, and some say that Rav Huna bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said, and some say that Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: It is preferable for a person to deliver himself into a fiery furnace so that he not whiten the face of, i.e., embarrass, his friend in public. From where do we derive this? From the conduct of Tamar, as it is written: “And Judah said: Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man, whose these are, am I with child” (Genesis 38:24–25). Although Tamar was taken to be executed by burning, she privately and directly appealed to Judah, rather than publicly identifying him as the father of her unborn children and causing him embarrassment.
מר עוקבא הוה עניא בשיבבותיה דהוה רגיל לשדורי ליה ארבע מאה זוזי כל מעלי יומא דכיפורא יומא חד שדרינהו ניהליה ביד בריה אתא אמר ליה לא צריך אמר מאי חזית חזאי דקא מזלפי ליה יין ישן אמר מפנק כולי האי עייפינהו ושדרינהו ניהליה
The Gemara relates another incident involving Mar Ukva. Mar Ukva had another pauper in his neighborhood, and Mar Ukva was accustomed to send to him four hundred dinars every year on the eve of Yom Kippur. One day he sent the money to him by the hand of his son. The son returned and said to him: The poor individual does not need the charity. Mar Ukva said: What did you see that prompted you to say this? He said to him: I saw them spilling old wine on the ground for him, to give the room a pleasant smell. Mar Ukva said: If he is pampered this much and requires even this luxury, then he needs even more money. He doubled the funds and sent them to him.
כי קא ניחא נפשיה אמר אייתו לי חושבנאי דצדקה אשכח דהוה כתיב ביה שבעת אלפי דינרי סיאנקי אמר זוודאי קלילי ואורחא רחיקתא קם בזבזיה לפלגיה ממוניה היכי עביד הכי והאמר ר' אילעאי באושא התקינו המבזבז אל יבזבז יותר מחומש הני מילי מחיים שמא ירד מנכסיו אבל לאחר מיתה לית לן בה:
When Mar Ukva was dying, he said: Bring me my charity records. He found that it was written there that he had given seven thousand fine, siankei, i.e., gold, dinars, to charity. He said: My provisions are light, and the way is far. This meager sum is insufficient for me to merit the World-to-Come. He got up and spent half of his remaining money on charity. The Gemara asks: How did he do this? But didn’t Rabbi Ilai say: In Usha they instituted: One who spends money on charity, he should not spend more than one-fifth of his money for this purpose. The Gemara answers: This restriction on giving too much charity applies only while he is alive, because perhaps he will descend from his holdings and become destitute. Therefore, for his own financial security, he should never distribute more than one-fifth. But after death, we have no problem with it. One need not save money in his estate anymore.
רבי אבא הוה צייר זוזי בסודריה ושדי ליה לאחוריה וממצי נפשיה לבי עניי ומצלי עיניה מרמאי
The Gemara recounts more stories related to charity. Rabbi Abba would wrap coins in his scarf and toss the money behind him over his shoulder. And he would place himself at the homes of the poor without being seen, so the poor could receive the aid without being embarrassed. And he would incline his eyes just enough so he could safeguard the handouts from swindlers who might take the money dishonestly.
רבי חנינא הוה ההוא עניא דהוה רגיל לשדורי ליה ארבעה זוזי כל מעלי שבתא יומא חד שדרינהו ניהליה ביד דביתהו אתאי אמרה ליה לא צריך מאי חזית שמעי דהוה קאמרי ליה במה אתה סועד
Rabbi Ḥanina knew a certain pauper and was accustomed to send to him four dinars on every Shabbat eve. One day he sent it in the hand of his wife. She came back home and said to him: The man does not need charity. Rabbi Ḥanina asked her: What did you see that prompted you to say this? She said to him: I heard them saying to him inside the house: With what do you normally dine: