I recall learning (probably somewhere in Ma'asros or Ma'aser sheni) that the maximum net worth a person could have and still receive ma'aser ani was 2000 zuz. In our own time when ma'aser kesafim has taken the place of all the other ma'aseros for most practical purposes, I have two questions:

  1. How much can an individual make (assuming support for their family is factored in) and still receive ma'aser money?
  2. How poor does someone have to become before he is excused from giving ma'aser because he can't afford it without being forced to take tzedaka himself?
  • 1
    "ma'aser kesafim has taken the place of all the other ma'aseros for most practical purposes" What does one have to do with the other?
    – Double AA
    Aug 25, 2014 at 1:01
  • I can't find the source right now, so I won't submit an answer, but I was taught in yeshiva that anyone who doesn't have a year's worth of living expenses in savings is exempt from maaser kesafim. Chayecha kodmin: your life comes first. One cannot give away money, and risk becoming a charity case himself.
    – Jake
    Aug 25, 2014 at 9:47
  • @DoubleAA, nothing at all. Just a historical observation
    – Yitzchak
    Aug 26, 2014 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


Rabbi David Feinstein rules that Maaser ksafim only comes into play after one pays all of his living expenses, including food rent tuition clothing etc. Whatever money is put away as extra is subject to the minhag we call Maaser Ksafim. Reb Elyashev has gone on record to say that paying for children's weddings is part of one's cost of living so all money put away for such expenditures is also not subject to Maaser Ksafim. As far as who gets to take, it's the same threshold. Are you getting by or slipping into debt? Need tzedaka? Take it. Unfortunately, recognizing the difference between one's needs and one's wants make this a very tough call.

  • Do you have a source for the last part of your answer ("As far as who gets to take..."?)
    – msh210
    Aug 25, 2014 at 18:49
  • @Msh210 -Dei mechsaro would dictate it, once we realize that maaser ksafim is just a glorified/regulated tzedaka.
    – user6591
    Aug 25, 2014 at 19:25

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