An exclusive look at the inner workings of the largest tzedakah organization in the world
It all started 22 years ago
Not every day goes down in Jewish history. But Wednesday, the 13th of Av 5752, was one such day.
A young kollel man suddenly passed away in a tragic manner, leaving behind a number of small children. His widow and children were shocked and in very dire circumstances. How could they be helped? Is there a system for handling such emergencies?
Today there’s an answer to these questions: Vaad Harabanim!
But then, the situation was quite different and brought great distress to two Gedolim, Harav Hagaon Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zt”l, and Harav Hagaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l. As a result, on Wednesday, the 13th of Av 5752, an urgent meeting was held in Rav Elyashiv’s home. They decided to start a general tzedakah collection, to be carried out by direct mail.
The Gedolei Hador saw how urgently our generation needs a system for handling these cases of distress which unfortunately have not ceased from our midst. A month later, the Gedolei Hador carried their plan to fruition and established the Jewish people’s central tzedakah organization, “Vaad Harabanim l’Inyanei Tzedakah b’Eretz Hakodesh.”
Harav Hagaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l would often emphasize two points upon which Vaad Harabanim is founded:
1) Klal Yisrael needs a reliable address for sending their tzedakah money. They should know that all their donations, down to the last cent, are managed faithfully and strictly according to Halachah.
2) The needy must have somewhere to turn. They should be able to receive help without suffering public humiliation.
Vaad Harabanim is Yours!
Who does Vaad Harabanim belong to? To the Gedolei Hador, and to you, the members of Klal Yisrael.
The Gedolei Hador oversee all the Vaad’s activities. They were the inspiration for its founding, they follow its activities closely, they provide constant input, and they render the Halachic rulings for every question that arises.
Klal Yisrael is the organization’s lifeblood. The worldwide Jewish community has placed its full trust in Vaad Harabanim, which is enthusiastically endorsed by the Gedolei Hador, and they regularly send their tzedakah money to the Vaad.
Vaad Harabanim stands on Klal Yisrael’s support.
The Grass-Roots Rabbanim
Why is it best to give one’s tzedakah to Vaad Harabanim?
There’s plenty of reasons for that. One is the two hundred rabbis of Vaad Harabanim, community leaders from all around Eretz Yisrael. They know first-hand about the troubles and the needs of the distress cases in their own local community. They’re on the ground and are personally familiar with the situation. That’s why they serve as the pipeline for your tzedakah to reach the right place, at the right time, and in the right amount.
These tried-and-true rabbanim delve into the local case, scrutinize the details, and size up the situation first-hand. They know who needs and who can get by without.
That’s how responsible decisions are made: on the basis of first-hand information, and al pi Halachah.
Eretz Yisrael desperately needs you and your donations! Because of you, a Jew has somewhere to turn in time of distress.
Here’s How It Works:
There are thousands of applicants for help. Their requests for assistance are made to the relevant partieseither by the person in need, or by friends, family, neighbors, etc. Whoever has a true and pressing need has a right to make an application.
There are so many different requests, but with one common denominator—they’re all crying out for help. The applications tell of sickness, financial distress, orphanhood, parents who have collapsed. There’s no end to the difficulties, pain and emotional distress.
Preparing the application
The cases of needare carefully reviewed by the relevant parties. The documents are scanned into the computer, and each request receives a serial number. The data is then cross-referenced and fully detailed; facts are carefully verified.All the data is investigated and researched.
A meeting of Rabbanim
The next step is a meeting in each city to discuss the local cases of distress. The authorized rabbis of that city, town or neighborhood spend long hours deliberating over them. They painstakingly review the data and decide which cases take priority, who will receive immediate help, and who will have to wait until next time, when more funds come in. They determine which families need continuous help throughout the year, and which can get by with a one-time grant.In the end, decisions are reached.
Distributing the allocations
These authorized local rabbis then send in their detailed reports to Vaad Harabbanim, on the basis of which intelligent and informed decisions can be reached. If Vaad Harabbanim decides to provide support for the particular fund handling thatcase,a check will be locally deliveredto the recipient. If necessary, additional services are provided, such as setting up children with “big brothers,” or counseling and therapy.
Each case is then reviewed periodically. Sometimes a family needs a little extra help along the way, and if so, the fund handling that case will appeal for additional help from Vaad Harabbanim. And sometimes, Baruch Hashem, a family gets back on their feet and no longer needs financial aid at all.
Here’s where the money comes from:
Unlike many other orgs, Vaad Harabanim doesn’t have a select group of big givers. That’s not how we work. It’s the personal donations, large and small, from each and every Jew everywhere, that make up the funding. This means that countless Jews in the US, Canada, Eretz Yisrael, England, France, Switzerland, Central and South America, and many other countries and locations around the world, are Vaad Harabanim’s very lifeblood. We have no one to turn to other than you! That’s why we emphasize the crucial importance of every dollar you donate.
Large contributions are very welcome, of course! Those who have more, should give more. That’s what the Halachah states. But you should know that even a modest donation from a good-hearted Jew, wherever he is, will combine with countless others like him, and quickly rescue the many thousands of families in distress.
Tefillos and Yeshu’os for you
It is well known that tzedakah and tefillah go hand in hand to nullify evil decrees, and work wonders to bring abundant happiness and success to the one who donated. This is how Jews have always conducted themselves. This is why Vaad Harabanim maintains continuous tefillos at the Mekomos Hakedoshim for all the donors, and, upon request, for a specific individual. Since these tefillos are offered by talmidei chachamim who are known for their piety and reliability, the tefillos are very powerful indeed! Just take a glance at our brochures, which are filled with actual testimonies from actual people who saw yeshu’os in their own lives, thanks to a donation to Vaad Harabanim.
Tefillos of the Gedolei Hador
Vaad Harabanim’s donors have a special relationship to the Gedolei Hador. The Gedolim all hold Vaad Harabanim in the highest regard, and for this reason, its donors are very close to their hearts.
The Gedolim put themselves out for Vaad Harabanim even when time is short. For example, in the last few hours before Rosh Hashanah, they stand at the Kosel Hamaaravi and pray on behalf of Vaad Harabanim’s donors. On Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, many travel up to Teveria to pray at the tomb of the Shlah Hakadosh on behalf of the children (and children’s children) of the donors. In fact, you may donate to Vaad Harabanim at any time, and daven to Hashem, and have your tefillos counted along with those of the Gedolei Hador.
At special times of the year, Vaad Harabanim offers you the opportunity to send in names and prayer requests to the Gedolei Hador.
Tefillos for you at Mekomos Hakedoshim
Vaad Harabanim’s donors are treated with extra special care! Prayers are recited on your behalf at the greatest Mekomos Hakedoshim: the Kosel Hamaaravi, Kever Rochel, Amukah, R. Yehudah bar Ilai, and R. Shimon bar Yochai in Meron, among many others. Talmidei chachamim who are known for their piousness and reliability are hand-chosen for this very important mission. If you have a special need, they are ready to daven for you!
Special tefilah requests
People are constantly sending in special tefillah requests around the clock. Vaad Harabanim makes sure these tefillos are recited promptly. We don’t let important things like that wait around.
And More Yeshu’os
“I pledged, and I saw a yeshu’ah.” This is such a common exclamation! There are countless testimonies from actual people who pledged money to Vaad Harabanim in all sorts of situations, and saw Heaven’s helping hand go into quick action in their lives. Because when we show kindness to others, when we open our hearts and donate to our needy fellow Jews, Hashem treats us with extra special kindness. This is no secret.
Whenever you have a problem, whatever it is, just pledge a sum to Vaad Harabanim, and pray that in this merit, the problem should be solved.
A lost object? Vaad Harabanim, and it’s found. An appliance broke down? Vaad Harabanim, and the problem is solved. A bochur can’t find a shidduch? Vaad Harabanim, and mazel tov! Aches and pains? Vaad Harabanim, and they disappear. Difficulties at work? Vaad Harabanim, and the boss acts like a different person. Vaad Harabanim is the answer for any problem.
What is the power behind “I pledged, and I saw a yeshu’ah”?
It’s very simple. When you help your fellow Jew, Hashem helps you—and many times over. That’s a promise!
Tzedakah is the only mitzvah in the Torah that, wherever it is mentioned, its reward is also mentioned. It is written: “In order that you shall be blessed,” “In order that you should become wealthy,” and others. Only the mitzvah of tzedakah bears so many promises. Therefore it only makes sense that someone who donates to the central tzedakah fund of Eretz Yisrael – Vaad Harabanim – will see yeshu’os in his own life.
When you support Vaad Harabanim, every dollar goes where it should. Thus your tzedakah makes a big impact in people’s lives. And it brings Klal Yisrael together, under the guidance of the Gedolei Hador. That’s why your sechar will be multiplied many times over, and you will see the fruits of it in this world, in your actual day-to-day life, where you really need it.
Don’t believe us. Try it!