Question:

Dear Rabbi

I have some Shailos in regards to Maaser Kesafim

1}If one is made aware of a person who has set up a public funding page which will help a local person with their large medical expenses–would this be considered Maaser to give to this fund?

2}Also, if one has a Tomchei Shabbos in their community, should the bulk or all of the Maaser Kesafim be given to them to help the needy in the community–or should some be given to them and also some to the poor in Israel and also to Torah Scholars another town?

3)If one is paid bi monthly, may he distribute some to the community locally with one check and then some to the poor in Israel and also to Torah Scholars in another town with the other check?

4) Does one give Maaser Kesafim on the net or the gross amount each pay check?

Thank you so much Rabbi for your kindness and help–I desire to distribute Masser properly according to Halacha

Answer:

  1. Our maaser money is to be given either to support torah learning or to support poor people. If someone is having a large medical expense that they can not afford, they are allowed to accept tzedakah, and you may donate to this fund from maaser.
  2.  You should give the bulk of the maaser money to the needy of your community, as they have precedence even over the poor people of E. Yisroel.
  3. The maaser money that you distribute does not have to be given to all causes from each paycheck. You can give to one place from one check and to the other places from a different check, as long as the various places that you want to give to got the intended money, and that the amount given was maaser etc.
  4.  Maaser money is taken from the net take home pay. The reason is because the taxes that you pay (i.e. social security etc.) are not considered part of your income, but as part of a business expense.  (When you get S. S. benefits, you will take maaser from those checks).

Sources:

  1. Ahavas Chesed 19-1, Shach Y:D 251-17.
  2. Shach Y:D 251-6, Bach ibid.
  3.  Avkas Rochel 11, Chavas Yair 224.
  4.  B’orach Tzedakah 12-17, in the name of R’ S. Z. Auerbach and R’ Eliyashiv zt”l

 

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