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Is someone who lives from tzedaka obligated to give maaser?



  1. Unfortunately, I live from tzedaka, and have very little extra funds. Am I obligated to give maaser nevertheless?
  2. Isn’t maaser on money just a custom and not a real mitvah?
  3. What about past years where no maaser was given at all?
  4. Exactly how is masser calculated?
  5. Is it dollar per dollar, or after rent and expenses etc are deducted?



  1. You don’t have to give maaser, as a poor person is not obligated to give maaser. You should however give some tzedakah over the year.
  2. It is technically considered a custom, however it has very old roots, from the time of Yackov aveinu. But as stated you are not obligated to give at this time. IY”H when you will have more money, before you start giving maaser, make sure to say that it is bli neder.
  3. Money that was earned in past years, especially if you didn’t have money then is not a concern.
  4. The person takes the profit that was earned, minus business expenses and taxes, and separates a tenth of that more for tzedakah. There are a lot of technicalities regarding this, and when you have a question you can reach out to us.
  5. As stated, business expenses may be deducted from your earnings, bt not your living expenses, such as your rent. But again if you don’t have enough money for your basic living expenses, you don’t have to give maaser.

Hashem should send you ample parnossa.

Best wishes

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