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Ma'aser

Tithing property

    As he began what would be a 20-year sojourn in exile, Jacob prays to God and promises, "Of all that You give me, I will set aside a tenth for You" (Genesis 28:22).  This is the first biblical mention of the mitzvah to donate one tenth or a ma'aser of your possessions.  In Temple times, farmers gave a tenth of their produce to the priests and Levites. In fact, all fruits and vegetables grown in Israel today have a symbolic amount removed before they reach the markets to fulfil the laws of ma'aser.

    These days, however, the relevant aspect of ma'aser is the obligation to give one tenth of your earnings to the poor.  That the rabbis require a minimum level of donation is in keeping with the Jewish concept of charity, tzedakah, which comes from the word tzedek, justice.  Giving tzedakah or a ma'aser of your income is what keeps society just and protects against massive economic divisions. Money spent on one's children can be included in one's ma'aser, if otherwise it would be too difficult to reach the full one-tenth.

Jewish words

Ga'agua

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Ga'agua
Jewish words

Nafka Mina

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Nafka Mina
Jewish words

Machzor

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Machzor
Jewish words

Geshmack

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Geshmack
Jewish words

Neilah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Neilah
Jewish words

Taharah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Taharah
Jewish words

Chizuk

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Chizuk
Jewish words

Harat Olam

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Harat Olam
Jewish words

Chayal

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Chayal