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Showering the Night Before a Taanis

Ha Lachma Anya: Rav Eliyahu Dessler - Celebrating Freedom With Poor Bread

Rav Yaakov Edelstein - The Two Words He Wanted to Be Able to Speak
 
Section: Questions   Category: Money Matters
  A r c h i v e s
Money Matters - Managing Bank Accounts
Submitted by Steve  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

If you yourself use the money in these accounts, even occasionally, for yourself, then in effect you are borrowing money from your family members, and lending that in turn to the bank. It would therefore be forbidden to pass on any interest earned in the bank to your family, because in effect the bank is paying you interest on your loan to them and you are paying interest to your family on the loan that they lent you.

If, however, you do not use this money at all but simply keep it there on their behalf, I have seen it written in the name of Rav Elyashiv that this would be permissible. Although the bank, recognizing only you and not your family, believes that it is paying interest to you, you actually know that the money deposited in the bank really belongs to your family, and when you collect interest from the bank you are actually merely collecting it on their behalf.

posted:2009-09-01 11:49:00  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Tzedaka For Therapy
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

The general rule is that a person is considered "poor," and may accept charity (such as ma'aser money) for their expenses even if they have savings, as long as these savings are only for basic requirements.


Someone who has additional savings for things like a car etc would probably not be regarded as an "Oni" – a poor person.

posted:2009-08-23 16:10:31  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Informing seller they are wrong about product description
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: I don't think there is any problem here. Anyone who would be interested in buying an old pair of tefillin would realise, as you did, that the tefillin were not made of wood, so I don't think he lost any bidders as a result of this misinformation.

As far as the seller not knowing the true nature of the object he was selling, in this case it would only be relevant if as a result of his ignorance of the product, he was being underpaid. It's almost impossible to put a price on an old pair of tefillin - it would very much depend on who wrote them, the condition that they were in etc. If he offered them for auction and no-one offered more than you, it's probably a fair indication of the price it's worth.
posted:2009-06-29 15:31:57  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Gambling?
Submitted by Chayim  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

There is a difference of opinion as to whether gambling is permitted or forbidden in Halacha.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that it is a form of stealing and is forbidden. Sefardim, who follow the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch, may therefore not gamble even occasionally, and this includes even buying a lottery ticket. Buying a raffle ticket however, would seem to be permitted even according to this opinion. When one buys a lottery ticket, one is placing money simply to earn the chance of receiving more. Buying a raffle ticket is different, though; you are actually donating money to a worthy cause, with a side benefit being the possibility of winning a prize as well, and this may well be permitted.

The Remoh, however, disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch, and permits gambling, even on a regular basis. One who has no regular source of income other than from his gambling, however, is considered to be not a member of a civil society, and is Possul Le'eydus – invalid to serve as a witness in Halachah.
It is worth noting, however, that the Remoh himself in at least one place (O. C. 322) does not object to the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch who forbids gambling (see Mishnah Berurah, Shaar Tiyon 322:20).
Further, one should note the words of the Rambam, who writes that in this context that it is not fitting for a person to spend his days in practices other than the gaining of wisdom, necessary business affairs and other such matters of societal importance.

Note too, the words of the Rivash who refers to gambling as a "disgusting, repulsive and sordid practice that has caused many casualties," and the Talmud Yerushalmi rules that we should make no effort to annul the vow of one who vowed never to gamble again!

posted:2009-06-17 18:46:26  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Charity
Submitted by Ryan  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

The general rule of thumb with regards to ma'aser kesafim is that all expenses that are directly accrued to enable one's generation of income can be deducted from the reckoning of one's income with regard to ma'aser.

So for example, if one rents an office for one's work, the cost of upkeep of the office, including rent, insurance and so on are all income-associated costs that may be offset against one's income when calculating one's overall income. If one commutes to work, or if one's car is used for work, one can deduct those costs as well. However, if one uses a car for private use not associated with work, one cannot reckon the running costs as a business expense.
In your example, if one earns $100,000 and one has expenses on an investment property of $20,000 the tax office will only assess $80,000 of income. So too with calculations for tzedaka, you need only give 10% of $80,000.

Incidentally, as a general rule with regard to ma'aser kesafim, in order to avoid problems of nedarim, one should declare at the outset that by giving ma'aser one intends not to oblige oneself with any nedarim.

posted:2009-06-09 22:38:19  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Accrued Interest from a Deposit
Submitted by Pinchas  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: The property manager merely passes on your payments. However, if the landlord is Jewish, it is forbidden to take any interest form him, especially if it was fixed and agreed beforehand that he would pay it. You should inform the landlord that you cannot accept the interest. If he sends it anyway, in this case you need not return it.
posted:2009-05-05 12:12:21  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Borrowed Bike Wreck
Submitted by chaim  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: The prohibition of paying interest applies to loans and payments etc. There is no prohibition of paying interest when returning stolen money. It would seem to me that the responsibility that a borrower accepts for the borrowed item can, in this regard, be more comparable to the case of returning stolen money than the case of repaying a loan. As such there would be no prohibition of adding extra money, particularly so in this case (in which you are not giving back more money, but rather a similar object although  is worth more).
posted:2009-04-30 14:39:32  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - noise from neigbours
Submitted by moshe  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: According to Halacha, in most circumstances a person may not make noise in a residential area that will disturb the neighbours. However, normal household activities at acceptable hours are certainly allowed. If the neighbors are making unacceptable levels of noise, they are obliged to either stop immediately or to provide adequate noise-reducing insulation.

However, whether the noise level is indeed unacceptable or not is impossible to judge without investigation and hearing the other party's viewpoint.

If the houses are built with inadequate insulation there may be room for a claim against the builder, but usually there will be no claim against the neighbors, unless the noise they are making is above and beyond the level of noise of regular household activities.
posted:2009-03-13 09:35:00  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Free Booklets?
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: The extra pamphlets do not belong to you. If the publishing company is merely an agent that arranges the publishing on behalf of the clients, then the extras belong to the client. If however the company takes the order and then subsequently sells it to the client then the extras belong to the company.

(A good rule of thumb is to ask what would happen if the order was destroyed through unpreventable means. If the publishing house must create a new product, it is clear that the product belongs to the company until passed on to the client, whereas if the client would suffer the loss then the company is merely an agent of the client.)
posted:2009-03-09 00:21:48  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Home Equity Loan
Submitted by Chaim  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:
No. The bank does not recognize your friend, only you. So the bank is lending you money (with interest) and in effect you are lending money to your friend, who is paying you interest by paying off your debts of interest to the bank.
posted:2009-02-25 01:37:29  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Shadchan payment
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:
Assuming that Mrs Frankel actually contacted the girl (or her parents) to put the suggestion to her, and Mrs Perl contacted the boy (or his parents) to suggest this shidduch, Mrs Frankel, who suggested and gave information about the girl, and Mrs Perl, who suggested and gave information about the boy, share the Shadchanus, half each.
All those in between did not serve as shadchanim but merely passed on a name.
As with all the answers given on this site, this answer should not be construed as a Psak Din, since both sides have not been given an opportunity to give their side of the story, and so the answer given is for general guidance only. If the others feel that they deserve some shadchanus, they should approach a Dayan or Beis Din together with the parents, for a definitive ruling.
posted:2009-02-16 13:35:43  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - item on an auction site labeled "Not For Resale"
Submitted by Rachel  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

The companies that distribute to stores full-size bottles of perfume with the word "Tester" printed on it intend that they be used by individual customers, one "spray" each. They do not intend that the store owner, or anybody else, take the whole bottle and sell it. Anyone who does so, then, is a thief.

However, it is possible that the distributors find themselves with an excess of such bottles and, seeing as they can't sell them for the full price due to the word "Tester," sell them off at a reduction.
You need to make inquiries as to whether there is such a legal market.

If, however, all, or even most of such "Tester" bottles are not intended to be sold as a single unit, you may not purchase them from anyone. This is for two reasons: Firstly, depending on the circumstances, you may actually be considered a party to the actual thieving. And secondly, by buying from a thief you are aiding and abetting him, and as a result you are encouraging him to steal again. If he could not sell the goods, he wouldn't steal them. In the words of the Gemora, "It's not the mouse that steals, it's the [mouse]hole."

posted:2009-02-04 00:06:27  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - dina dmalchuta
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: no
posted:2009-02-03 07:08:15  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Ribbis - Dollar Shekel Currency Exchange
Submitted by goldbaum  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer:

The halachos of Ribbis – the prohibition of paying interest – are numerous and complex, but we shall try to present a very brief summary with regard to the subject at hand.

In situations of inflation or deflation, the Halachah regards the currency as being stable and everything else as fluctuation. So if one borrows, for example, $100, one pays back $100, even if there was deflation in the interim and the $100 has more buying power than it did at the time of the loan. If, however one borrows anything other than currency, e.g. food, goods etc. there is a concern that in the interim there may be inflation, and the goods will increase in value, so that if one repaid the same amount of goods one would actually be paying interest. For example, if one borrowed a kilo of flour from a neighbour, and returned it a week later, and in the interim the price of flour increased, returning a kilo of flour would entail repaying the loan with something that is worth more than the original loan, which involves the prohibition of paying interest.

Therefore, in general Chazal prohibited lending anything other than currency, for fear that the value may increase before the repayment of the loan.

However, there are two leniencies built in to this prohibition. Firstly, if the price is stable, it is permitted, because there is no concern that the price will increase. Secondly, if the borrower has at least a small amount of the borrowed item, it is also permitted. For example, it would be permitted to borrow a kilo of flour if the borrower has at least some flour of his own at home.

What about different currencies? The consensus of opinion among the Poskim is that foreign currency that is not readily usable in the country where the loan is taking place is considered as goods rather than currency. So to borrow Canadian dollars in Israel would not be permitted unless the borrower owned at least one Canadian dollar of his own.

Now we approach the question in hand. What if the loan took place in the local currency, but the repayment takes place in a different country in the local currency of the place of repayment? For example, one lends shekels in Israel with the repayment in Canadian dollars in Canada.

There would appear to be a difference of opinion as to how to regard this loan.

Rav Yosef Gelber (Nesivos Sholom 162:1) is inclined to consider this as a loan of money, as this is the local currency at the time of the loan. As such, there would be no problem with the actual loan. When the time would come to repay the loan in Canada, one could either pay the same amount of shekels that was borrowed or alternatively, pay the amount in Canadian dollars at the exchange rate of the time of repayment.

(If you want to fix the repayment in Canadian dollars at the exchange rate which is valid at the time of the loan, in effect the "lender" is buying dollars, and it would only be permissible if the borrower in Canada has in his possession the entire value of the loan in Canadian dollars – Bris Yehudah 20:11.)

Rav Yaakov Blau, however, (Bris Yehudah 18 footnote 15) is inclined to view the loan as being a loan of goods rather than currency. Because the condition of the loan was that it be repaid in Canada, not Israel, he regards it as if the loan actually took place in Canada. And since the shekel is not a valid currency in Canada, such an arrangement would be prohibited unless the borrower had at least one shekel in his possession at the time of the loan.

Thus in our case, if your brother in Canada has at least one shekel in his possession, he can ask your mother to lend him shekels in Israel (by paying off any debts that he has there). If he doesn’t have any shekels, ask your mother to give someone a shekel to acquire it on his behalf. Once he now owns a shekel, the arrangement is permitted, as explained earlier. Again, the repayment in Canada would be in shekels, or in Canadian dollars at the exchange rate which is valid at the time of the repayment.

And again, if you want to fix the repayment in Canadian dollars at the exchange rate which is valid at the time of the loan, in effect the "lender" is buying dollars, and it would only be permissible if the borrower in Canada has in his possession the entire value of the loan in Canadian dollars.

posted:2009-01-27 00:25:33  (0) comments   email to a friend


Money Matters - Obligation to stop giving?
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool
Question:
Answer: One is not permitted to give away more than one fifth of one’s possessions to tzedakkah. This is because there is a concern that one may oneself become poor and would then need to take charity from others. Therefore, a very wealthy man may give more than a fifth to charity if it is extremely unlikely that he will become impoverished.

Further, some poskim permit giving away more than a fifth if there is a poor person standing in front of you. In other words, it is only forbidden to give away more than a fifth if the money is being set aside for charity and is not being given away immediately, but in a case where a particular poor person requests money at this moment one may give away more. Your case, in which you are dealing with particular families that are relying on you, can be considered as just such a circumstance.

Also, in order to support needy Talmidei Chachomim, one may give away more than a fifth – this is considered an investment as any other (if not a better investment!).

[There are several other circumstances in which one may give away more than a fifth of one’s possessions to charity, such as on one’s deathbed. Furthermore, the Chafetz Chaim suggests that one who wastes his assets on unnecessary luxuries may well be permitted to give more than a fifth to charity, since the money would otherwise go to waste anyway!]

There are some Poskim who permit giving away more than a fifth of one’s earnings to tzedakkah (indeed the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 149:1) seems to permit it if one can afford it, with the Remo”h forbidding it, so perhaps there is more room for Sephardim, who follow the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch, to be lenient). Apparently, when Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv was asked he replied that he permits it. When he is summoned to the Heavenly Court, he added, he will present his Halachic reasoning for this ruling. If it is accepted, well and good, and if not – he is willing to accept upon himself the consequences!
posted:2009-01-12 00:35:21  (0) comments   email to a friend


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