I have a friend who is selling ink cartridges for computer printers. The prices of ink cartridges sold online (via the internet) are lower. I want to patronize his business. If I purchase through him rather than from the internet, may I deduct the difference between the higher price and the lower price from the amount that I would normally give to ma’aser?
My yeshiva is part of a touch football league. Our team is in need of a sponsor. We found someone who is willing to sponsor our team providing that he can use ma’aser money to do so. Is this permitted?
Although patronizing a Jewish establishment is a mitzvah, the difference cannot be deducted from maaser. In general, money that is spent for the personal fulfillment of a mitzvah (and certainly where the mitzvah involves an obligation) cannot be taken from maaser.
The direct contribution to the yeshiva team is also something of a long-shot in terms of maaser, although it is perhaps a communal need.
Perhaps the yeshiva itself can support the team, and the money contributed can by contributed directly to the yeshiva. If the yeshiva supports the team as part of taking care of the need of bachurim (taking care of their physical/psychological health can be part of the yeshiva ethos), the money can be contributed to the yeshiva (and taken from maaser), and the yeshiva can decide to do as it sees fit, using part or all of the money for the team.