You said earlier (see yesterday’s Q&A)that one only gets reward for doing a mitzvah if there is intention added to the act. Can you discuss how that fits with what Chazal tell us that if you lose some money and a poor man finds it so you get reward for tzedaka.
If a man loses a dollar and a poor man finds it, so there’s a statement in Yerushalmi in Peah, that he is rewarded for charity. So the question this gentleman is asking is: What kind of charity? There’s no intent, and I said earlier that without intent there can be no reward.
And the answer is, as the seforim say, that he won’t get any reward without intent. It’s only because we know that when a Jew when he loses a dollar, so he’s thinking, if he would know that a poor man founf it and had use of it, so he’s satisfied. He would like to have the dollar back, but he’s happy that a poor Jew is benefiting from his dollar. Rather than it should be lost and go down the sewer, he’s satisfied that a Jew who is hungry bought some fresh rolls and ate them. So he gets reward for being satisfied. But not the same reward as if he would have taken the dollar and given it of his own volition.
That’s why when a meshulach comes to you and asks for a dollar for charity, and you give it to him, so you get reward. But suppose you go out to the streets looking for a meshulach to give him a dollar, so you get a much bigger reward for giving away that dollar. Anything that you do voluntarily is a much bigger reward.
And that’s why when you give charity, when a man leaves a bequest after his death, it’s compared to copper. Copper is a good thing. He gave away copper – it’s also something. But when he gives it when he’s alive, just before he dies, so its silver; that’s better than copper. When he gives it when he’s still healthy, then its gold. That’s what the sages say. It makes a big difference, the amount of volition that’s involved. When he’s dead, he can’t take it with him anyhow, so he leaves it for charity. That’s also good. He could have done much worse – he could have left it for the UJA. Or he could have left it, as many do, for the Homeless Kittens Home. It’s not a joke; it’s a tragedy.
So the amount of your volition that goes into it, that’s the amount of reward you get.
TAPE # R-48