Question:

I have ma’aser that I owe but I don’t have extra cash now to give. I’m doing volunteer work for a Kollel. Can I calculate the money I would normally earn for this work using my standard rate per hour that I usually charge and use that to deduct from my ma’aser debt? The Kollel would pay me for my work if I asked but I’m waiving the fee and wondering if I could use that instead of ma’aser..

Answer:

If you would ask for a salary and the kollel would give it to you, you can waive the future fees, and consider it as having given ma’aser. However you will have to calculate the money that you “earned” as earnings and not only as ma’aser. Meaning, that if you make $1000 from the kollel, and will donate it back to them as ma’aser, you still have to calculate the $1000 as earnings, and if you make another $20,000 for the year, you have to calculate as if you made $21000 for the year. Then take off $2100 for ma’aser, $1000 of which you already gave. So You will have to give another $1100 ma’aser.

Have a gmar chasima tova

Sources:

B’orach Tzedakah 11-74, 11-102 in the name of R’ Moshe Feinstein, R’ S. Z. Auerbach, R” Eliyashiv zt”l, and ybchl’ch R’ Nissin Karelitz shlit”a,

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