Friday, May 20, 2022

Yevamos 50: Charity Saves from Death 

On this daf, we find an opinion that sometimes Hashem adds years to one’s life while other times years are subtracted.

One gabbai tzedakah liked to attempt to convince wealthy people to donate to worthy causes. He was often promised money that was not given. He learned that our sages say that a man’s wife doesn’t die unless he is asked for money and he doesn’t have, and that Tosafos explains this means someone who makes a pledge to give tzedakah but doesn’t fulfill it. Since this is most often what occurred, maybe it was forbidden for him to elicit such pledges, thereby endangering these men’s wives.

When this question was presented to Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, he rejected this reasoning: “A woman cannot die solely due to her husband’s sins. The Gemara is speaking about a woman who deserves to die due to her actions. If her husband gives tzedakah, this can save her, as we find in the verse, ‘Tzedakah tatzil mimovess.’ But if her husband refuses, she is not afforded this special protection. On the contrary, the gabbai tzedakah should definitely try. If he is successful, he may save someone’s life” (Chashukei Chemed).

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