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Genesis 14:20 says that Avraham gave "a tenth of all" to Malki-Tzedek. A tenth of what? His annual income, his assets, the booty from the war, or something else?

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Rash"i there states that he gave 1/10 of all his assets ("מעשר מכל אשר לו") - which should mean his sheep, cattle, money, etc. I think the booty from the war may have been excluded, because we see a verse or two later, that he returned this to the King of Sodom. Thus, it wasn't his property. (Logically inferred, and further proof from Avraham's response to the king saying that he didn't want to be enriched by the king for even a thread.

Had he given ma'aser from the booty, based on what was "not" his (according to his thinking), he would have given it from "stolen" property. (It's an interesting question, though - perhaps, to ask a separate question on M.Y.)

  • If we are reffering to him about somethong that happened before the name change, i think we still call him by Avraham. Proof is the mishna in Avos which lists the ten trials of Avraham, some of which before the name change, and he is still called Avraham. It's not a great proof but it's something. And besides,unless unless you have a conclusive proof to call him Avram, i wouldn't mess withbeing oiver on tthat one. – user6591 Oct 30 '14 at 3:43
  • +1. I really like your point about the exclusion of the spoils of war, hadn't considered that they weren't his 'cuz he returned them. Nice idea! – MTL Oct 30 '14 at 5:03

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