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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:22:04 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Further Comments about Forced Mishebayraches/Vows I recently suggested that a forced donation from a Mishebayrach creates no obligation for giving because a gift follows the PERCEIVED INTENT OF THE GIVER (Rambam Gifts 6:1) and the person only made the MiShebayrach to escape embarassment. Alex Hoppenheimer retorts that the particular Rambam I cited deals with a person who gives away his entire estate because he thougt he was dying;this would not apply to someone giving a small amount.Alex also cites the fact that a promise to give is a neder (Charity 8:1) and is like forcing someone to give a sacrifice (14:8). These are all answerable objections. Rabbi Bechoffer already pointed out that the person doesn't make the neder himself (someone else makes the MiShebayrach--all he has to do is not say Amen). Furthermore (Rambam Vows 4:1-2) explicitly says that Vows done for emphasis ("I vow not to eat by you"--so stop pestering me) or for sales ("I vow not to take less than $100") have no validity since he "didn't really intend to keep the vow." How does this differ from a person on a Bimah who is being embarassed in front of the whole shule if he donesn't give. I looked up Sacrifices 14:8 "Those who are liable to Offerings, we take it from them by force because they really want to" and do not see the relevance to the current situation. Finally although Gifts 6:1 does indeed speak about a person who "gave" his whole estate nevertheless the principle I mentioned applies to many cases (As I stated in my original posting). For example * If I send gifts to "my boys" then if there are female gifts among them (like jewelry) then then they go to the girls (Gifts 6:14) * A deathbed wish to give a daughter a $400 present for her Ketuvah is interpreted as a $200 present if the local custom is to exagerate by doubling * A deathbed wish to give my children $100 a week is interpretd as $2-300 if that is what they need (The person used a $100 to indicate to be thrifty) (Gifts 11:21,23--note deathbed wishes are like "deeded gifts"). Finally if Rabbi Bechoffer brought in his synagogue experiences I should bring in my actuarial experiences...In practice way under 50% of even Yom Kippur donations are ever sent in (or so people have told me). Such a statistic helps justify the "he didn't really mean it" interpretation. Russell Hendel; Moderator Rashi is simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/