Halacha for jueves 30 Sivan 5781 10 June 2021

Question: Are those who customarily donate a tenth of their monthly income to Tzedakah permitted to deduct the cost of providing for their children still living at home from the sum of this ten percent?

Answer: We have previously discussed that one must donate a certain amount of Tzedakah annually. It is a “middle” level for one to give a tenth of one’s monthly profits every month. Now let us deal with our question regarding those who donate a tenth of their monthly profits to Tzedakah; are they permitted to deduct the cost of supporting their older children still at home from the ten percent?

The root of this question lies in the Gemara which tells us that according to the letter of the law, one is not obligated to provide for one’s children who are older than six years old. The obligation to support one’s children above this age is only on the basis of Tzedakah, for one is obligated to donate to those closest to him and since one is obligated to donate Tzedakah, one must by default support one’s children. However, if one does not have the means by which to support them, one is not obligated to according to the letter of the law.

The Gemara in Masechet Ketubot (50a) expounds the verse in Tehillim, “Praiseworthy are those who keep justice and perform righteousness (Tzedakah) at all times.” Is it indeed possible to perform Tzedakah every moment? Our Sages from Yavneh therefore explained that this verse refers to one who supports his young children. This means that when one supports one’s young children above six years of age, although, halachically speaking, one is not required to do so, one fulfills the Mitzvah of Tzedakah by doing so. Similarly, the Rambam (Chapter 5 of Hilchot Matenot Aniyim) writes that when one sustains one’s children whom one is not obligated to according to the letter of the law in order to teach them Torah and educate them along the proper path, this is included in the Mitzvah of Tzedakah.

Based on this, the Maharam of Rottenberg writes in one of his responses that one may likewise act leniently regarding the donation of ten percent of one’s money in that one may deduct from this sum the cost of supporting one’s children above the age of six, for this indeed constitutes the Mitzvah of Tzedakah. Although Maran Ha’Chida disagrees with the opinion of the Maharam of Rottenberg based on Kabbalah and rules that one must donate specifically a tenth of one’s income and because the Poskim say that only a Mitzvah that would not be able to be fulfilled without the Mitzvah of separating a tenth can be fulfilled using the money from the apportioned ten percent, but for something which would have been fulfilled in any event, such as providing for one’s children, money from the ten percent should not be used, nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l disagrees with the opinion of Hagaon Chida on this matter and writes that the Halacha indeed follows the Maharam of Rottenberg and one may deduct the cost of supporting one’s children from the ten percent one usually donates. Although there is currently an edict of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that one must provide for one’s children until they are fifteen years of age, nevertheless, this does not deter one from using money from the ten percent for this cause. It is nevertheless better for one who has given the entire ten percent to Tzedakah until this point to perform the order of “Annulment of Vows” before three people regarding that which one has been accustomed to not using the money from the apportioned ten percent to support one’s children. From that point on, one should specifically stipulate that one will be using these funds for such things as well.

Summary: If one customarily donates ten percent of one’s profits to Tzedakah, one may deduct the cost of providing for one’s children above the age of six from this sum. However, if until this point one has customarily donated the entire ten percent sum to other needy individuals, it is proper for one to perform an “Annulment of Vows” before three people regarding this custom of donating the ten percent specifically to others and from then on, one will be permitted to use these funds for the expenses of one’s children as well. Clearly, this applies only to one who educates one’s children in the correct path of the Torah, for only then is there room to claim that this constitutes the Mitzvah of Tzedakah; however, if one’s children study in secular institutions and the like, this expense cannot be considered Tzedakah at all.

If Hashem has bestowed abundance upon an individual and he is capable of giving Tzedakah besides for the expenses of the members of his household, he should graciously dispense the entire sum of ten percent to the poor, Torah scholars, and yeshivas.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

ESTA PERMITIDO CONSUMIR PESCADO CON LECHE?

Estudiamos en el Talmud, tratado de Hulin 103b, se prohíbe cocinar carnes con leche, a excepción de la carne de pescado y de langosta. Observamos entonces que, de acuerdo a la legislación talmúdica no se incluye en la prohibición de consumir o cocinar carne con lec......

Read Halacha

CON EL COMIENZO DEL MES DE AB SE DISMINUYEN LAS PRACTICAS ALEGRES

Aún cuando, como ya vimos anteriormente, desde el 17 de Tamuz se acostumbran alguna prácticas de duelo, al comenzar el mes de Ab esto se hace más estricto y las costumbres de duelo son más rígidas y se observan hasta el 10 de Ab. Afirma el Talmud (Ta´anit 26b......

Read Halacha

UN ESPACIO EN LA CASA SIN PINTAR

Pregunta: ¿Es necesario dejar en la casa una espacio sin pintar, como suelen hacerlo algunas personas meticulosas en su observancia? Respuesta: El Talmud (Baba Batra 60ª) nos dice, que a partir de la destrucción del sagrado Templo, la persona no debe terminar de pinta......

Read Halacha

BENDICION AHSER YATZAR Y BIRCAT HAMAZON

Pregunta: En la entrega anterior vimos que la persona que debe pronunciar la bendición final sobre un alimento y asimismo debe recitar la bendición de “asher yatzar” por haber hecho sus necesidades fisiológicas, primero debe pronunciar la bendición de “a......

Read Halacha


SOBRE LA BENDICIÓN ASHER YATZAR

Pregunta: La persona que comió un “cazait” –aprox. 28 gms.- de un fruto y debe pronunciar sobre el mismo la bendición final, sin embargo, antes de pronunciar esta bendición concurre al toilette a realizar sus necesidades, al salir ¿qué bendici&oac......

Read Halacha

LAVADO DE MANOS PARA COMER PAN

Es un precepto origen rabínico lavarse las manos antes de comer pan. Este lavado ritual de manos aparece citado en el Talmud (Eduiot cap. 5) y allí se cita que los rabinos aplicaron anatema a Rabí Eliezer ben Janoj pues puso en tela de juicio este lavado de manos ritual. Y a&uac......

Read Halacha

CONSUMO DE PAN SIN EL LAVADO RITUAL DE MANOS

Pregunta: Existe la posibilidad de comer pan sin realizar el lavado ritual de manos –netilat yadaim- Respuesta: El Talmud (Hulim 107b) afirma: que les fue permitido a los cohanim consumir el pan de la “terumá” –diezmo agrícola- envolviéndose la manos c......

Read Halacha

SAL SOBRE LA MESA

Pregunta: Existe según la halajá alguna obligación de colocar sal sobre la mesa antes de pronunciar la bendición de “hamotzi” –sobre el pan- durante la semana? Respuesta: El Talmud (Berajot 40ª) afirma: Así dijo Raba hijo de Shemuel en nom......

Read Halacha