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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 ...


8

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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

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

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

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 ...


4

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, ...


4

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


4

I asked Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, and he said according to the prevalent practice to give maaser on receiving gifts of cash (or checks, whatever, something that can be spent anywhere) but not goods, a gift of a gift card would not need maaser. If you're paid by your job in gift cards? Same as if you were paid in potato chips, I guess. Not sure how we'd ...


3

I think you're confusing a few things. The process is that the non-priest picks an animal for sacrifice, and brings it to the priests for them to process it. In 1:6, G-d says: ... where is My honor? To you priests who degrade My name; you ask how? [1:7] they [not you] bring for My altar rejected food; you ask, how did we reject You? By saying the ...


3

The Nitei Gavriel (Purim 26:8) says that men are not allowed to give Machatzit HaShekel from Ma'asar money, but women and children are allowed to (since they do not have an obligation to give the Machatzit Hashekel). See also footnote 17, where the Nitei Gavriel says that according to the Magen Avraham one may bring the Machatzit Hashekel from Maaser (since ...


3

Colel Chabad is one. From their website: Colel Chabad is the oldest continuously operating Tzedakah organization in Israel. It was established in 1788 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. Colel Chabad is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Colel Chabad's sole purpose has always been to help the most destitute ...


3

Though lacking in sources, Rabbi Aryeh Levine and Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi both felt so. They used to work out with the shop owners of the Mahane Yehuda Shuk, to give discounts to poor people in the community so that they could buy their groceries in dignity. They used to call the shop keepers "their partners in tzedaka". I know stories of this are in ...


3

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, ...


3

I'm going to the Dead Sea tomorrow. Redeem your coin onto my coin (by adding your name to the comments of my blog http://rabbisedley.blogspot.com/2012/04/biur-maaser.html) and I'll be your shaliach for destroying maaser sheni.


3

The Tiferes Yisroel suggests that the mikvaos were outside the town (to avoid problems of mayim sheuvim). The Kohanim went to mikvah near to sunset to avoid having to be careful about their ritual purity during the day and so after their teviloh and drying themselves they did not come into town until it was dark. So he understands that that the kohanim ...


3

The sefer Tal Oros Vol. 3, Chapter 18 discusses this issue in great detail, and the following is a summary of his main points: The Kesef Mishnah comments on the Rambam that the fine that Ezra instituted "in his time" was not to give the Ma'aser Rishon to the Levi'im at all, only to the Kohanim. But in the generations after Ezra they instituted that it could ...


2

It seems there's something special about exactly 10%. R S Taub, The Laws of Tzedakah and Maaser, p122, says that to fulfil "maaser" you should first isolate 10%. The first source is the third footnote Sefer Ahavat Chesed (by the Chafetz Chaim), sec 2, Ch 19, which refers to a "Sod Gadol"/"Great secret", and he also mentions a few other sources I don't ...


2

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.



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