Learning how to Give – Tzedakah and Maaser Kesafim
Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, rosh yeshivah of the famed Slobodka Yeshivah in Europe, visited the United States in 1924 to raise desperately needed funds for the yeshivah. While still in New York, he received an urgent telegram. The yeshivah’s students
faced imminent draft into the Lithuanian army, a disaster on every possible level. As an emergency measure, the yeshivah was relocating one hundred fifty students to Eretz Yisrael, removing them from the grip of the Lithuanian government. The cost was enormous – $25,000 in 1924 currency. Perhaps miraculously, Mr. Schiff, a wealthy New York Jew, donated the entire sum. During the Depression, only a few years later, Mr. Schiff lost his fortune and was literally living in the basement of a building he had previously owned. Rav Moshe Mordechai’s son-in-law, Rav Yechezkel Sarna, came to the United States in the 1930’s to raise money for the yeshivah, and Mr. Schiff, now impoverished, spoke at a parlor meeting. He told the group at the meeting that everything he had ever owned was gone; all he had left of his vast investment empire was the $25,000 he had given to establish the Chevron Yeshivah. That belonged to him and his family forever, and could never be lost.