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When to give money?


Rabbi David Sperling

Elul 4, 5779
Is there is time or day after Rosh Hashana there is a tradition to give money, when? To do it correctly?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct that giving charity is very important, especially around the Days of Judgment. We say in the prayer service that “prayer, repentance and charity” can avert a bad decree. So, giving charity is very desirable (at all times) but especially around these special days of judgment. Also, there is an ancient tradition called “kaparot” which is also preformed during the days around Rosh HaShona and Yom Kippur. While some people use a chicken for this custom – which they then give to charity (or it's worth) – many, perhaps most people, today use money for this custom, giving it charity. As to when to give the charity – there is no exact time that has particular importance. As long as one does not give the money on the Festival itself, or Shabat, when it is forbidden to handle money, any time is good. Some people like to give the charity just before the festival, so they both help poor people who need funds for the festival, and also so they themselves enter the festival with this extra merit. Others find the days of repentance between Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur as special days when giving more charity is certainly appropriate. Of course, one is not limited to giving only once, and if one is able, then giving a few times over these days would be a good thing. Blessings for a good year.
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