Question:

I want to donate a substantial sum of money for my maaser obligations, but don’t want to have to give it away all at once, in order to better space the donations.

I want to put the money into a separate account and invest the money that is not being used, in order to give as much as possible, over the long term.

Given that if this holding of charity money experienced a “loss”, I would be liable to replenish it — if it experiences a “gain”, can I count that gain towards my maaser obligation, and make my original donation such that the principal is help by “tzedakka”, and the peiros (the gains over the principal, in this case) can further be deducted from maaser? i.e. if $50k was in a charity fund and through good investments, it grew to $55k before it was time for distribution — can i count the additional $5k towards maaser?

Answer:

Since you are not giving the maaser money right away, it is a good thing that you are setting it aside in a separate account so it doesn’t get mixed up with your money. However there are two things that you should be careful about. Since the money is really the property of tzedakah now, you should make sure that the money is accessible if poor people will need it or ask for a donation. Secondly, you should not invest it in anything that has any risk to it. You are now considered a gabbai of that tzedakah, and you have to watch it carefully, and may not take any risks with it. In the event that it was indeed invested, if it did incur a loss, that is on you, but if it has a gain, it is considered the tzedakah’s money gain and not your personal one. Therefore although you get the merit of adding to tzedakah’s money, the gain can not be deducted from your other maaser obligations.

Best Wishes

Sources:

Basi Dino Shel Shlomo Y:D 1-1 (1-23) also brought in Nahar Mitzrayim Y:D pg. 211, Tzitz Eliezer 14-66, Shevet Halevi 8-213.

Tags: maaser money

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