With permission, I ask this question with honor and respect to a 92 year old man who paid attention to my laining this morning. May he live a long life!

Genesis 28:22:

וְהָאֶ֣בֶן הַזֹּ֗את אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֙מְתִּי֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה יִהְיֶ֖ה בֵּ֣ית אֱלֹהִ֑ים וְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּתֶּן־לִ֔י עַשֵּׂ֖ר אֲעַשְּׂרֶ֥נּוּ לָֽךְ׃

and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you shall give me I will surely give you a tenth.’

The man asked me, "When and to whom did Ya'akov give ma'aser"? (tithe)


2 Answers 2


According to Rav Naftali Tzvi Y'huda Berlin in his commentary Ha'mek Davar, tithing is a generic term for separating some of one's wealth and giving it away - particularly to poor people. Indeed, we find people other than Ya'akov doing so elsewhere in Tana"ch.

However, continues the N'tzi"v, Ya'akov specified in this case that he was giving the gift to God, and we can therefore conclude that it consisted of bringing offerings.

He does not indicate when Ya'akov carried out this gift.


Daat Zkenim on Genesis 28:22:1:

וכל אשר תתן לי.

מדרש יעקב תקן לתת מעשר מן הממון ואמרי' בב"ר שאל מין אחד את ר' יהושע בן לוי היכן מצינו שעישר בניו אמר לו לוי שהקדישו לשמים אמר לו ומה ראה להקדיש לוי והוא לא הי' עשירי אמר לו שעשה יעקב מכל בניו כטלאים הנכנסין לדיר להתעשר והכניס דרך תולדותם וכו':

My translation / synopsis:

In the Midrash, it states that a heretic asked R. Ya'akov ben Levi where we find that Ya'akov tithed his children? R. Ya'akov answered that Ya'akov's son, Levi was concecrated to G-d (as the tribe of Levi served G-d in the Mishkan and Bet Hamikdash).

The heretic asked, "What did he see to consecrate (tithe) Levi, as he was not the 10th child (or, for that matter, 1/10th of Ya'akov's children)?

He answered that Ya'akov considered all his children as young ewes passing through the gate, so that they need to be tithed.

  • 1
    Doesn't seem to fully answer the question.
    – Scimonster
    Nov 16, 2015 at 20:07

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