Pidyon Kaparot Now

Giving chomesh to tzedakah

Question:

My understanding is that when separating chomash, 10% should be given to poor people and 10% to support talmidei chachamim.

  1. Is this correct? Can donations to organizations that work in kiruv rechokim be included in the calculation for donations for talmidei chachamim or should that be outside of the calculation?
  2. As far as giving more than chomesh being only for the very wealthy, what if one is not considered wealthy in the eyes of society, but has enough money because they live simply and can give more without feeling the pinch, is that allowed?
  3. Regarding poor people, is it acceptable to pay for things like dental treatment and essential home repairs that they would not have been able to obtain otherwise? I am asking this, because there are organizations that provide food packages, but it is harder to get essential services for free.

Thank you in advance.

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

  1. The idea of giving chomesh (20%) which is really giving maser twice. The idea is similar to the masser of grains, when one tenth was given to shevet Levi, the people who were involved in Torah study, and this was the torah form of giving them support. The second maaser is maser sheni and maaser oni, which was a tenth given to poor people, and other causes aside from torah study. The Poskim say that kiruv rechokim would be included in the torah support part, since it is going to help people come closer to torah.
  2. The general understanding is that it is indeed for people who are very wealthy, and it doesn’t sound like you fit into that category (yet). As far a being allowed, that there are instances when one may give more than a fifth. If there are poor people asking him for money for food and clothing. If there is money needed for real pikuach nefesh. If there is a poor person and there isn’t anyone else that can give it. If the person has a steady income, he is allowed to give the left overs to tzedakah even though it is more than a fifth. Prior to one’s death.
  3. You may give tzedakah to organization that provide poor people with thier needs other than food and clothing. Whatever the poor person has a need for is included in tzedakah.

May HKB”H shower you with all the brachos that are bestowed upon a person who gives chomesh to tzedakah.

Sources:

  1. Ahavas Chesed 2 Chap. 19-3, also see footnote on this.
  2. Ahavas Chesed 20-1, 2, 3, Igros Moshe Y:D 1-143.
  3. Y:D 250-1.

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