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13

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz gave a lecture on charity a few years ago, and someone asked him this. He said the key was "providing for those who otherwise wouldn't have." An orphanage or library certainly does that. (He mentioned Catholic charities that have helped Jewish parents adopt a baby, too.) As for arts organizations, he asked if they provided ...


9

A farmer living in Israel in Temple times would have given as follows: Approximately 2% of his crops to the Kohen (priest); known as teruma. 10% of his remaining crops to the Levite; ma'aser which means "tithing." (The Levite would then tithe that -- i.e. ~1% of the original crop -- and give it to the Kohen.) 10% of what's still remaining; depending on the ...


9

Hefker (ownerless produce) is exempt from the obligation to have Terumah and Maaser taken from it (Rambam, Hil. Terumos 2:11). So if they drop sheaves on purpose and declare them hefker, then no, there wouldn't be a problem.


8

Let's not forget the next prohibition on the Rambam's list (#154): The 154th prohibition is that we are forbidden from giving the agricultural gifts out of order; rather, we must give them in the proper order. Separating Terumot and Maaserot before separating Bikkurim violates one of the 613 Torah commandments (Mishna Terumot 3:6-7). So in practice ...


7

According to the Chofetz Chaim (Ahavas Chessed 18:2), this is subject to a dispute among the poskim. In order to avoid this problem, the Chofetz Chaim recommends that when one starts to distribute maaser, he should explicitly say that he is accepting this practice on the condition that he can distribute tzedakah before earning the money. The Tzedakah ...


7

Rabbi Breitowitz gave a lecture a few years ago on Ma'aser (I don't believe the audio is posted anywhere). He said it includes gifts, but only if cash, which you can use for anything. Not non-monetary gifts, and not gift certificates. (Note that many couples do a bridal registry someplace where they can return their gifts for cash; if you cashed it in, ...


7

Dayan Raskin says that the following are deductibles: Any overheads that one must pay to earn one's money. For example, if one earned $100,000 but must pay rent, workers, wholesaler, insurance, etc., he doesn't really earn the full $100,000. Therefore, he can pay less Maaser. Taxes. If one earned $100,000 dollars, but pays $10,000 in taxes, he doesn't ...


7

The Mitzva applies in all places and at all times, even today and even outside of Israel. (Bechorot 9:1) However, since nowadays we can't offer the animals as Korbanot and we'd have to wait for the animal to get a blemish in order to eat it, there was a rabbinic enactment not to fulfill the Mitzva lest people come to sin by eating it before it got a ...


6

Machtzis HaShekel may not be given from Ma'aser money. (Shaalos U'teshuvos Bais Dino Shel Shlomo Yoreh Deah Siman 1. See also Sefer Tzedaka U'Mishpat Perek 6 footnote 37. See also Mogen Avraham Siman 694:1 in the name of the Shela HaKadosh)


6

I can but quote the Mishna B'rura (694:3); CYLOR for a practical ruling: והנה השתי מתנות צריך ליתן משלו ולא משל מעשר וההוספה שמוסיף יוכל ליתן משל מעשר i.e. (my own translation, which you shouldn't rely on): and, lo, he must give the two gifts [to paupers] from his own and not from maaser's, and the addend that he adds he'll be allowed to give from ...


6

Aaron, your guess is correct: the produce remains kosher whether it was shared with the poor or not. The only portions of the produce that have restrictions on its edibility are: terumah, which must be eaten by a Kohen while ritually pure terumat maaser, which is the terumah given by the Levi. Ma'aser sheni, should be kept ritually pure (tahor) and eaten ...


6

First of all, the Biblical mitzvah of maaser has to do with produce; the contemporary version of the mitzvah, maaser kesafim, where one gives 10% of his income, is a minhag or at least of Rabbinic origin, according to most poskim. The Gemara, at Kesubos 50a, states that one cannot give double-maaser (20% of one's income) if it would cause him to be ...


6

Welcome to J.SE, good questions. Suppose I start with 100 lbs. of flour. First I give a small amount, known as Terumah, to the Kohen. That leaves 98 lbs. of flour. I tithe the remaining flour (9.8 lbs); that's called Maaser Rishon, and it's given to the Levites. (Rambam laws of Maaser 1:1). The Levite then tithes what he gets, i.e. 0.98 lbs of flour, and ...


6

See Chazon Ish (D’mai 3:12) proves that modern coins may be used even though they have no intrinsic value, and offers a possible explanation as to why that logic does not apply to paper money which traditionally has not been used for these purposes. (footnote 16 on article "THE HUNT FOR THE PERUTAH CHAMURAH" by Rabbi Dovid Cohen ...


5

There is the Biblical commandment on tithing produce grown in the land of Israel (irrespective of the Temple's standing). Israeli farmers still tithe today; however, as the tithed produce has no special religious properties, a farmer can say "I won't give this to a Levi until/unless he proves that he's truly a Levi", and as that doesn't happen today, the ...


5

No written source, alas, but I have heard the following, if I remember it correctly, from Rabbi Yisrael Reisman (of Torah Vodaas and Agudath Israel of Madison, both in Brooklyn). Debts cannot be paid from funds of maaser. If one pledges to pay an amount to tz'daka, it's a debt, and he may not pay it from maaser. However, if one pledges to pay an amount to ...


5

This is the subject of a dispute between R' Akiva and R' Elazar ben Azaryah in Yevamos 86a-b: R' Akiva says that it must be given to a Levi, R' Elazar says it can be given to a Kohen as well. (The Levi'im failed to come with Ezra to Eretz Yisrael, as described in Ezra 8:15, and the Gemara says that he penalized them for this; the underlying argument is ...


5

Terumah Gedolah should not be measured with precision but should be given באומד by estimation. One should not even use a vessel of known measurement to remove the Terumah Gedolah, unless one doesn't fill the vessel to a known line. (Terumot 1:7, Rambam Terumot 3:4) Maaserot (Rishon, Sheni, Ani, and Min HaMaaser) should be given with high precision. The ...


5

Rabbi Yitzhak Hirschfeld told me that if cash is given in lieu of a specific gift, because it is easier to ship or such, then that money too does not need to have maaser taken. He mentioned his mother wanted to send him furniture, but it was easier to mail a check and a note instructing him to buy furniture with the money.


5

I like Shalom's answer, I did want to clarify something: while certain contributions to a Synagogue would count as tzedaka, regular Synagogue membership dues do not. This post gives also gives a very detailed explanation: http://www.pidyon.com/latest-writings/halacha/10-maaser/48-computing-maaser-how-much-tzedakah-charity-do-i-owe.html


5

R' Zevin writes in "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales" page 291: R' Yehuda Tzvi of Rozla was once visited by a Chassid who gave him a kvittel (prayer request) with the accompanying traditional pidyon (money given to a Tzaddik). The Rebbe asked him (rhetorically) how he, the Rebbe, was allowed to receive a pidyon; after all, the money is only given on ...


5

When one picks fruits owned by a Jew in Israel, he is allowed to snack on them (אכילת עראי) until they become designated for maaser (נקבע למעשר), or, if he is planning on selling them, until he finishes his work on the harvest (גמר מלאכה). After that, he cannot eat from them at all until properly tithing them. The most common ways of designating for maaser ...


5

Number 1 ( Agree to the parents' request and don't give ma'aser ). That's what Rabbi Dovid Feinstein told me. The reason he gave for this was that it is a present with a stipulation. He also said that if the gift is large, there is an assumed stipulation and one need not give. His mashal (example) was a car. I asked what's the smallest large amount one can ...


5

The rabbinate is actually doing its best to not impose at all. There are many tithes separated from produce in Israel and the rabbinate, in certifying that given produce is kosher (if requested to do so by the grower), only removes those tithes which cannot be eaten nowadays, namely, Terumah Gedolah and Terumat Maaser (totaling about 1% of the crop), plus in ...


4

If I recall correctly from Rabbi Breitowitz's tzedaka lecture, you'd only count 90%. I think he gave the example of providing gratis, for a charity, some service that would otherwise cost $100/hr. You would only have pocketed $90 from providing that service for non-charity, so you only write off $90 to Tzedaka. I think that was his case; if I'm correct, ...


4

I'd think it might be analogous to "performing kiddushin with a loan [that has already been given]" - i.e., where Reuven, who has previously lent money to Rochel, tells her that he'd like to use that money for kiddushin. The halachah is that this is not effective, because he hasn't given her anything now; the money is already considered to belong to her from ...


4

There are many. Pretty much every Jewish organization out there has a site with a donate button. Here are just 3 quick examples of famous ones: Masbia Chai Lifeline Misaskim Basically, if you can think of a Jewish organization, pop their name into Google (or the like) and make sure the site you're on is actually legit [not such an easy task, but common ...


4

According to Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum ZATZAL the answer is that the Mitzva is not fulfilled. http://www.campsci.com/articles/iv_been_scammed_out_of_a_mitzva.htm


4

I can't find any indication of how long you have to separate the money (and it seems to me that there is no time limit). However once you do separate the money, if you didn't make a t'nai (condition) at the time of separation that you retain the right to give it at some point in the future as you please, then you are obligated to give the money to poor ...


4

About 10 Years ago, I asked a similar question to a posek by the name of Rabbi Yonasan Wiener in Jerusalem and he replied "if you can't make ends meet, you're not obligated in maaser." However, I read in a book on Rabbi Pinchas Sheinberg that a couple with a very difficult financial situation went to ask him whether they were obligated to take maaser. He ...



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