From the Desk - Putting the Wrong Figure in a Cheque
Shalom Friends! I am writing to you from Fort Lee, New jersey where I have spent the last couple of days at a conference, gleaning material for sermons over the coming holidays and benefiting from excellent sessions on spirituality, stress, vision, strategy and much more! I am grateful to Congregation Beth Ora for investing in my professional development and I look forward to using what I have learnt to bring benefit to our community. Many thanks also to Rebbetzin Carly (and to my mother-in-law, Rita Wolfisz) for holding the fort at home so that I could go away for a couple of days. The holiday season is almost upon us! There is so much we are planning for this special period. In particular, we look forward to the High Holidays which will be uplifting and engaging, characterised by the communal warmth which endears Beth Ora to so many. The beginning of the season, however, is this Saturday evening. In addition to our regular memorial and selichot services, we are screening an inspiring, beautiful movie followed by a short discussion which will prepare us for the High Holidays. The Movie is called 'Have a Little Faith.' Check out the trailer and, if you like the look of it, join us for the evening! Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbat, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with... Putting the Wrong Figure in a Cheque? Over the last year, I have been giving monthly classes on the topic of gambling from a Jewish perspective. At the last class, Andy Sherman asked the following question:
A person writes a cheque to a charity and mistakenly writes a higher amount than what he had planned to give. He then goes to the charity and demands that they return the surplus. Must the charity return the money?
I referred this question to Rabbi Asher Meir, an expert in Jewish business ethics. He answered that, in order to demand his money back, the donor would have to bring some evidence that the amount written in the cheque was a mistake. For example, there may be a certain amount that he regularly donates. Has he made a verbal or written commitment or pledge to donating a certain amount of money? The same would apply if you gave a present to someone. Once you've given them the present, you can't just assert that it was a mistake and ask for the present back. Rabbi Meir also remarked that most charities, as a matter of policy, will return money if it hasn't been used yet and the donor asks for it back - even if the donor doesn't claim a mistake but merely regrets having made the donation. After all, the last thing a charity needs is ill will from a donor! But if the charity did not want to return the money, the donor would need to prove that there was a mistake.