I have so far been underwhelmed by the Kitzur Yalkut Yosef and other related books when discussing the Halachot of Monetary Law. I live in Israel, so the banks already work with a Heter Iska (not that I even understand what this is). However, there are many aspects of my life that I don’t know whether I am acting in a Halachik and Yashar manner or not!
For example, in Israel, with some employers, there is a “pension/savings” fund called Keren Hishtalmut. Both employer and employee (from paycheck) provide money into this fund, and six years later the employee can take the money out tax-free.
- Do I need to make sure this fund goes through a Halachic track instead of a Risky track so that I know my fund isn’t investing in Mechalel Shabbat companies?
- Here’s another example: Since taxes are automatically taken out of my paycheck, do I need to pay Ma’aser since I don’t know if the taxes are going into the politicians’ pockets or paying government employees or going to government funded organizations (NGOs)?
- Is putting money in the tzedaka box counted as a mitzvah? Do I need to do it every day? Can it be a monthly thing and it is counted as if I did it every day?
- Am I allowed to use a lawyer outside of the Beit Din in Israel if the person or organization against me works under a Heter Iska?
There are many, many more questions I have regarding Monetary Halacha. Are there any good books that you can recommend that discuss everything one needs to know regarding Monetary Halacha?
Your concern is very understandable, there is a lot to learn, and a lot to know. Yes, there are thousands of questions and things to learn, and in part, this is why we are hear. For people like you to have a place to ask question that you otherwise would not be able to ask. As you write, this doesn’t take the place of learning and acquiring the knowledge yourself. Monetary law in particular is complex and not easy to master, however by reading various practical halacha seforim you will get a good idea of the various halachos, and you will then know how to ask the proper authorities an educated question. It would be wise to take one topic at a time, learn it, and then go on to the next topic, but don’t try overdoing it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a person can not become a talmid chacham in a day either, but with perseverance and learning things in an orderly fashion, you will grow a lot.
Regarding your questions,
- There are few issues with using a Keren Histalmiot that doesn’t have a hechsher. The main issue is that the keren buys bonds, which essentially is a loan with interest, which is ribbis d’orayso. It is possible for the keren to have a heter iska, however they have to have this heter iska with whoever they buy the bonds from, and both parties have to understand what the heter iska is doing. This is not an easy thing to do.
- Taxes that are taken from a person’s wages are not included in what a person has to give maser, because the person is never receiving the money, but goes straight to the government.
- Putting money in a tzedakah box, which is designated to be given to poor people or to torah study etc. is considered giving tzedakah. It is better to give tzedakah every day, especially before davening. Giving once a month is good, but not as good as giving every day. This is because the more times a person has to reach into his pocket and take out money, the person is breaking his yetzer hora, therefore this way is preferred.
- It is difficult for me to understand your question, “to use a lawyer outside of the Beit Din”. Do you mean to go to a secular court? We are not allowed to go to a secular court unless we have the permission of a bais din. If you maen something else please specific it.
There are many books on many topics. Let me know if you would like them specifically in English or in Hebrew is also good. Also please specify which topics you would like to read about.