According to Halacha, do Jews fullfill their obligation of donating tzedakah if they give it to non-observant Jews? Or no, if a Jew is not religiously observant does it not fullfill the mitzvah of donating tzedakah to give them money?

  • Why would it matter?
    – shmosel
    Mar 31 at 6:13
  • 1
    @shmosel presumably because some mitzvot bein adam l'chavero require that and he wants to know if this is one of them. Mar 31 at 7:29
  • What do you mean by observant in the context? Everyone tries to do the best they can Apr 1 at 3:34

2 Answers 2


R Shimon Taub (in The laws of tzedakah and maaser, p. 37) answers your question this way

Halachically, a Jew who purposely does not keep Shabbos is called a Yisrael Mumar, and if he is in need one should not give him tzedakah. However, there are different halachos regarding someone who does not know any better or does not have a Jewish upbringing. Today, most non-observant Jews do not know any better and one would be obligated to support them if they are in need. When one is in doubt one should consult a Rav.

R Yisroel Bronstein, writing in Halachos of Ma'aser Kesafim, answers your question (p. 80) similarly

One should give charity to the non-religious poor to prevent enmity and anger. Non-religious Jews can, in most cases, be compared to those who were brought up among the gentiles without religious training.

Note, however, that in the list of priorities these Jews might be below others, e.g., talmidei chachamim. See e.g., here and here for more on priorities.


The SA YD 251:1 states that a mumar lhachis is not part of the mitzvah of tzedaka:

מי שהוא עבריין במזיד על אחת מכל מצות האמורות בתורה ולא עשה תשובה אינו חייב להחיותו ולא להלוותו

If one wilfully and repeatedly transgresses even one of the Biblical commands and does not repent, we are not obliged to support him or to lend him money (Sefaria)

The Achronim debate about a mumar l’teavon if he has the same Halacha. The Shach says if he repeatedly does the aveira then he’s a mumar. The Chavas Daas YD 159:3 brought by R Akiva Eiger says that just like you need to return a lost object of a mumar l’teavon, so too he’s included in the Mitzvah of tzedaka.

If there’s an issue of darkei shalom then he’s no worse than a non Jew.

  • 2
    This addresses the halachic categories, but there's the secondary question of what a contemporary non observant Jew's status is (tinok shenishba etc.)
    – Double AA
    Mar 31 at 13:50
  • 2
    I'm not sure the last line is true. It could be we don't want shalom with an active sinner (moridim velo maalim, etc.)
    – Double AA
    Mar 31 at 13:51

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