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Maaser/Wealth

Question:

Hi Rabbi ,

  1. I know that someone who has debts he is exempted from giving Maaser (not Tzedaka) because he has to pay first his debts, but if he doesn’t give maaser how will he receive the blessing to become wealthier?
  2. Shouldn’t he give maaser even though he has debts in order to become wealthier and be able to pay off his debts and live comfortably.

Thank you

Answer:

You question is impressive… if only everyone would want to give tzedakah like you do… Regarding your questions.

  1. In a way you are correct, however there are other mitzvos that we can do in order to get Hashem’s blessings. Here are some examples. It says[1] that a person who says birkas hamazon properly (and is thankful for the food that Hashem has given him) will get his livelihood with dignity his whole life”. Another source for getting wealthy is to do your business dealings honestly[2]. See sources.

As a side point, A person that has debts doesn’t automatically mean that he is exempt from giving tzedakah, but only if the debts are because he doesn’t have enough money for his needs and therefore went into debt. For example, a person who took a mortgage to buy an investment property, will not be considered poor because he now has debts.

  1. A person is only obligated to give maaser if he has his needs, and paying off one’s debts is an obligation, and a need that the person has. A person who doesn’t pay them back is considered a Rasha. Although it says that a person will become wealthy by giving maaser, it doesn’t say that it will happen today or tomorrow. The debts can’t wait until we make back the money from our heavenly investment.

Best wishes

Sources:

[1] ספר החינוך פרשת עקב מצוה תל “מקובל אני מרבותי ישמרם אל, שכל הזהיר בברכת המזון מזונותיו מצויין לו בכבוד כל ימיו”.

[2] משלי פרק יב פסוק כד  “יַד־חָרוּצִ֥ים תִּמְשׁ֑וֹל וּ֝רְמִיָּ֗ה תִּהְיֶ֥ה לָמַֽס”: וע”ש ברש”י יד חרוצים – ישרים: תמשול – תעשיר”:

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