Are there any detailed recommendations from chachamim how to distribute tzedakah percentage wise (how many percent to pikuach nefesh, Torah insitutions/talmidim, how many to poor people, etc.)? I'm asking how to divide up the 10% (or up to 20%), not about how much to give total.

There is a lot of information about priorities but I couldn't find exact percentages.


2 Answers 2


There are no exact proportions in tzedaka and you can/should follow your heart. But there are certain guidelines indeed.

R Hershel Schachter brings the following (from an interview in Jewish Action here)

The question is what does “precedence” mean? Does it mean you give everything to the poor people in your family? The commentaries assume that this is not the case. The Chatam Sofer (II: 233-234) writes that you give half of your tzedakah money to family and divide the other half among other poor people.

He mentions other poskim adjust the split of the tzedaka budget going to those with precedence: Aruch Hashulchan: 51%, Chochmat Adam and R Moshe Feinstein 67%, Pitchei Tshuva 75%.

Here is an example following [the 67% opinion]: Assuming I have $1,000 to give to tzedakah, if I have a relative who needs $667, I give it to him. The maximum is $667; but if he needs less, I give him less. Once my relatives are taken care of within the amount of $667, I give up to two-thirds of the remaining money to needy neighbors. And of the remaining money, I similarly give up to two-thirds to aniyei ircha. And so on, through the list of priorities.

For more sources and details on priorities, see here.


R Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore is quoted by R Jonatan Ziring (Torah in a connected world, p. 100) as answering your question this way

In allocating and disbursing Tzedakah funds one should divide the amount of Tzedakah into thirds. The first one-third should be given to needy individuals or institutions in town. A second third should be used to satisfy one's moral obligations whether they be in town or elsewhere. In the event that one's moral obligations are all in town then at least two-thirds of one's Tzedakah would be distributed in the area. The final third may be given to any qualified individual or institution including those out of town, provided that the requirement stated above, of assuring that over 50% of one's Tzedakah be distributed in town, has been satisfied.

The following constitute moral obligations.

  1. A needy relative or close friend.
  2. A mosad in which you, your spouse, or your children received a Torah education without paying full tuition.
  3. A mosad or needy individual from which you have direct benefit.
  4. A mosad owned or directed by a relative or close friend to whom you feel a responsibility to help.

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