Aren’t many beggars fakers? We all know people perhaps including ourselves, who don’t give to beggars because they claim that most are charlatans. How do people of faith deal with this?
A priest knew a poor man to whom he regularly sent a significant sum of money. One day, he sent that amount through his deacon, who came back and told him that the man receiving the money was in no need at all. “What did you see that makes you say that?” asked the priest. “I heard the man being asked, ‘On what will you dine, the silver-colored table cloths or the gold-colored ones?’ “It is because of such cases,” the priest responded, “that our Church Fathers taught: ‘We should be grateful to the rogues among the poor; were it not for them, we (who don’t respond to every beggar’s appeal) would be sinning every day.’”
GUARDING THE DIGNITY OF THE POOR – A poor person’s self-respect is safeguarded in several ways:
1. By reminding everyone that a certain amount of poverty is inevitable: “For there will never cease to be needy people in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy. – Deuteronomy 15:7-8
2. By teaching that rich people have a personal need to fulfill God’s commandment through giving charity: “The poor man does more for the rich man [by accepting charity] than the rich man does for the poor man [by giving it]. – Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, Leviticus Rabbah 34:11
A man should meditate on the fact that life is like a revolving wheel, and in the end he, or his children or his grandchildren, may be reduced to taking charity. He should not think, therefore, “How can I diminish my wealth by giving it to the poor?” Instead he should realize that his property is not his own, but only deposited with him as a trust to do with, as the Depositor [God] wishes. – Rabbi Solomon Ganzfried, Code of Jewish Law