Precedence in Hitching-A-Ride (Trempim)

[Shut She’eilat Shlomo vol. 2, #436]
Responses of Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Shilt"a, Chief Rabbi of Israel

1. Question: If there is room in the vehicle, is there a obligation to take someone who is standing in the hitchhiking waiting area becauset of "Midat Sedom" (conduct of the people of Sedom) of "One benefits while the other does not suffer" or is it pious behavior?
Ha-Rav: This is a full mitzvah. And the non-fulfillment is worse than "Midat Sedom" since in the case of "Midat Sedom" there is the possibility that this person can fulfill his need in an alternative way, but here he has no other possibilities, and he needs this kindness.

2. Question: Regarding who gets the ride, do we apply the principle "the first who comes merits" or are there other principles of precedence?
Ha-Rav: There are other general principles. For example, one should take the passenger who is traveling the farthest distance, and not one who needs to get out in the middle of the trip.

3. Question: If so, must I take one who lives farther away, like in Shiloh, before someone who lives in my settlement, Beit El?
Ha-Rav: The residents of Beit El take precedence in all cases since "The poor of your city take precedence."

4. Question: Are the two settlements of Beit El (alef and bet) considered as two settlements or like one settlement regarding the issue "The poor of your city take precedence."
Ha-Rav: In general, they are considered two settlements. Regarding this issue of hitchhiking, however, they are like one settlement since the trip takes the same road.

5. Question: Does a Torah scholar take precedence? Does a woman take precedence?
Ha-Rav: A Torah scholar and a woman take precedence. A woman takes precedence over a Torah scholar.

6. Question: Does a Cohain and Levi take precedence?
Ha-Rav: They do not customarily take precedence in these matters.

7. Question: There are young men who cut in a line of children who are before them with the claim that they are kids and they can wait.
Ha-Rav: There is absolutely no justification for this behavior. A child is like everyone else in this matter.