To whom it may concern,
I have a few questions for the Rav, which I’ll label. Is it possible to indicate which Rav answered my questions?:
1) Is it permissible to use ma’aser money for college education?
2) I carpool with another girl and owe her money for gas and tolls, but we’re not always the same number of people. Do I need to figure out every time how much I owe her, or can I assume since it’s usually this and this amount on said day, and we agree, can I pay that amount or is it stealing or overpaying? (note: I’m paying now from the entire previous semester of college)
3)When I receive a check from work, do I need to pay from before taxes, or after? (If I was paid $100 and after taxes I actually receive $50, what am I paying ma’aser from?)
4)I found $0.25 in my Jewish College vending machine. I think someone left it there, but there’s a possibility that when my quarter came out from the machine, it gave me an extra quarter, but I think it was there before. What should I do?
Thank you for your time,
1. Maaser money may not be used to pay for college education.
2. If you make a concrete agreement with the other girl, meaning that each of you agrees that for a said day you pay a fixed amount, then the agreement is fine. If, however, no agreement is made, you need to make a precise accounting of the amount you owe.
3. You pay maaser according to your net income (after the deduction of taxes) — the amount of money you receive in hand is considered your “income” with regard to maaser.
4. You are permitted to keep the extra quater you found.
1. See Iggros Moshe (Vol. 2, EH 112) concerning payment of a girl’s education with maaser money; the reasoning he mentions would not apply to college education. See also Minchas Yitzchak, vol. 10, no. 85.
4. This question is a little complicated, and it includes the question of the intention of the person who found the money and the issue of whether the machine is able to make a kinyan (acquisition) on behalf of the machine’s owner (see Neisvos 200:7; Rabbi Akiva Eiger, Derush Vechidush, Gittin 79; Shulchan Aruch and Rema, CM 200:3, 1; CM 260:5). In your case, because you didn’t (apparently) have the intention of giving the money to the vendor, he does not “acquire” the coins by virtue of his machine, and you are permitted to keep the money for yourself. See Beis Hillel, vol. 11, p. 25.