Tzedakah & Social Justice

14 02, 2021

When to Give Ma’aser Kesafim

February 14th, 2021|Tzedakah & Social Justice, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

New York, NY

Does one have to take ma’aser before they invest? Or do they take ma’aser on the earnings? Do they have to take it from investment earnings, is this only when they take money out their retirement account? Is ma’aser taken from Gross income or Adjusted gross income?

ANSWER

According to Rav Moshe, one takes ma’aser on take-home pay, not gross income, since this is effectively what the person is actually earning. Iggrot Moshe YD 1:143 – אבל המסים של האינקאם טעקס שזה הוא מס מהריוח אין צריך לעשר עליהם משום דנחשב כלא הרויח זה כלל. So, it is adjusted gross income. There are […]

26 11, 2019

Where Does Ma’aser Kesafim Come From, and What Can it Be Used For?

November 26th, 2019|Tzedakah & Social Justice|

Can I use my ma’aser kesafim, tithes from my income, to contribute to my synagogue’s building campaign, and can I use it to pay my shul’s membership dues?

The idea of tithing is alluded to in this week’s parasha.  We are told that Yitzchak, “Sowed in that land and received in that year a hundredfold, and God blessed him” (Gen. 26:12), on which Rashi, quoting Breishit Rabbah, comments: “It produced 100 times what he had estimated; and this estimate was for the sake of ma’asrot, tithes.”  Indeed, Rambam (Laws of Kings 1:9) attributes the pre-Sinaitic practice of tithing to Yitzchak based on […]

14 02, 2018

Donating to Shul Building Funds with Ma’aser Kesafim Money

February 14th, 2018|Tzedakah & Social Justice|

Can I use my ma’aser kesafim, tithes from my income, to contribute to my synagogue’s building campaign, and can I use it to pay my shul’s membership dues?

Giving money to the building of a house of God is the theme of this week’s parasha:

Speak to the Children of Israel, and they that bring me an offering (terumah); from every person whose heart moves him to give, you shall take My offering (Ex. 25:2).

The second half of Shemot, in fact, is devoted almost exclusively to this project – the building of the Mishkan and the contributions in time, talent, and wealth that […]

26 09, 2016

Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Lend Me Your Money

September 26th, 2016|Tzedakah & Social Justice|

If asked which mitzvah obligates us to help the poor, we would immediately respond, “The mitzvah of tzedakah.” There’s only one problem: no such mitzvah exists in the Torah. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that if a poor person asks us for money, we must give it to him. But wait, you say, that can’t be right. In this week’s parasha it says explicitly, “For you shall surely open you hand to him and you shall surely give him sufficient for his need, in that which he lacks” (15:8)! But that’s not really what the verse says. The […]

6 09, 2016

Mitzvah of Lending Money

September 6th, 2016|Tzedakah & Social Justice|

Loaning as a Mitzvah

Is there a mitzvah to loan money?  Many of us would think that the answer is “no” – it’s not real tzedakah, because the person has to give the money back in the end.  What is obvious to us is that there is a mitzvah of tzedakah – giving money to a person in need.  Surprisingly, however, this mitzvah appears nowhere in the Torah.  Look at the following verses that talk about supporting a poor person through financial assistance {source 1-‎‎3}. […]

3 06, 2011

Using Ma’aser Money for Other Mitzvah Obligations

June 3rd, 2011|Tzedakah & Social Justice|

Can I use my ma’aser kesafim, tithes from my income, towards pre-existing mitzvah or tzedakah obligations, such as my synagogue dues, my children’s day school tuition, or pledges to charity that I have already made?  A mishna from Menachot touches on an answer to this question.

In the mishna in Menachot 81a, we learn that a korban todah cannot be purchased from ma’aser sheni money.  This is based on the principle stated in the following mishna (Menachot 82) that כל דבר שבחובה אין […]
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