Question:

  1. I was given money by someone to buy a specific thing for my child, do I need to give maaser from this money?
  2. I’ve given maaser for years from my income but this year things are very tight. My husband says I really should be using the maaser to buy our children what they need. Is this true or is there still a chiyuv to give maaser even when things are tight? Do I need to be matir neder if I don’t manage to give the full amount of maaser I owe?

Answer:

  1. Money that was given for a specific purpose is considered as if that item was given to you, and not money therefore according to most poskim you do not have to take off maaser from it.
  2. If things are really tight and you don’t have enough for yourself you, technically don’t have to give ma’aser.

However regarding if it became a neder, would depend on what happened when you started giving maser.

If you accepted it upon yourself to give maser and you didn’t say bli neder when you said you would do it, then you should be matir neder.

If you said that your giving maser should be bli neder then you can stop giving maser if it is too hard on you.

If you didn’t say anything, but just gave it a number of times, (which automatically became like a neder) then the declaration that is made after being matir neder on Erev Rosh Hashana or by Kol Nidrei, that you wish to nullify any nedarim that you will make, will nullify this neder. (It is noteworthy to remember that chazal say that a person never loses out from giving tzedakah, and tzedakah only helps a person’s parnossa.)

As a side point, if your husband does not want you to give the money to tzedakah you are not allowed to.

May H-shem send you a shefa of parnossa, in this coming year!

Sources:

  1. Igros Moshe Y:D 2 -112, Tzedakah Umishpat 5 ftnt. 26, B’orach Tzedkah Chap. 5.
  2. Y:D 148-4.

Tags: maaser money Tzedaka

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