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Ma’aser questions

Question:

Ha Rav,

1. We are invited to a wedding, is the 300₪ considered ma’aser? The 300₪ is our gift to the newlyweds.

2. The Shul dues 500₪. We heard that a percentage is ma’aser. Is this correct? Is the percentage 75% or 80% of the 500₪ Shul membership?

3. I won 85₪ in a raffle. Since it was a cash prize, am I obligated to give 8.50₪ back to the organization?
Thanks so much.

Answer:

Hello,

  1. It depends if the chosson and kallah are eligible to receive tzedakah. If their financial situation is such that they may receive tzedakah, then you may[1] use maaser money for the present. This is even though you are enjoying he wedding. However, if they would not be eligible to receive tzedakah, then maaser money may not be used.
  2. Using shul membership for maaser is a little complicated. First of all it is only if the person stipulated that he can use maaser money to do mitzvos. But even if he did, not[2] everything included in membership can be deducted from maaser. For example, buying a seat, cannot be included in this, because that is being bought for oneself, to have a seat in the shul, or if membership includes a certain amount of aliyos. I do not know what the percentage of this is.
  3. You would give maaser on what you won in the raffle, but it doesn’t have to be given specifically to the organization that you won the prize from, and you can give it to any tzedakah cause you wish. If however[3] you used maaser money to buy the raffle (when this is allowed), then the maaser of the winnings should preferable be given to the organization.

Best wishes

Sources:

[1] צדקה ומשפט פ”ו סע’ ח’, ע”פ הש”ך ס’ רמ”ט סק”ג, ואהבת חסד פי”ח בהגה”ה.

[2]  ע’ אמת ליעקב יו”ד הערה 134, פסקי רש”ז בקונטרס קול התורה חוברת ל”ט עמ’ פ”ט שאלה ט”ו, וכן הובא בס’ באורח צדקה פי”א הערה פ”ג בשם הרב אלישיב זצ”ל.

[3] וע’ אג”מ או”ח ח”ד ס’ ע”ו אות ב’.

 

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