Home Forums Bais Medrash Maaser/Tzedakah

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    There are so many different places that you can give your maaser or tzedakah money to – but the two main categories are:

    1. Poor or in need people who need your money to help them get through their daily lives, and

    2. Torah – like kollels, yeshivos, or websites like, etc etc.

    Now this may not be a problem for people who are rich and make tons of money and therefore tons of maaser so they can split up the money to many different places and still give each place a pretty good donation, but if I don’t have so much money and I feel that I want whatever I have to really make somewhat of a difference to who I’m giving it to – what in your opinion is a better thing to give to? People in dire physical need, or helping increase Torah in the world? To me, it feels like giving to the poor is so much more immediately important, but does Torah come first because it is saving lives spiritually? Or, should I just split the money up and give $18 to a bunch of different places, and in that way give a little to everyone, but then feel like I didn’t really make much of a difference for ANYONE. (Bacause, maybe I’m blind, but it doesn’t seem to me that you can do a life altering amount of things with 18 bucks. But with 150, maybe, especially for the desperately poor.)


    BTW, there are those who are learning who happen to be poor. If the halochic preferences work out, sounds like two birds with one stone

    ☕️coffee addict

    I think 18 dollars to each is the best

    Hashem loves it when you do more mitzvos, so giving tzedakah twice is better than giving it out once, and 18 is a fair amount to give

    it could be your yetzer hara telling you that 18 dollars is nothing


    I don’t know if I can answer your question entirely, but I think that both situations are important. It’s very nice to be able to give a large sum of money to an organization who helps to the poor & needy. But, not always is it financially possible to give one big lump sum to 1 place. The mitzvah isn’t to only give to 1 place a lg. lump sum. You can give to as many places even if there smaller amounts of money. (It’s like when you get in the mail these pamphlets from some organization based in Eretz Yisrael & they tell you that if you call in by a certain day & time w/ $180, $250 etc. you can have your name/s mentioned by the Kosel & other Mekomos Hakedoshim w/ a minyan of people saying Tehillim for 40 days/nts & see your Yeshuah IY”H. Like how many people do you all know that can afford to always give such types of sums. Oh, w/ some of these organizations, if you want to put in more than 1 name, so you need to give at least double the amount of Money. In these difficult times w/ the economy, how many people out there can really afford to give these amounts that are being requested?) I find that when I have to give to more than one place either from organizations that I have pledged to already & other things that come in the mail, since I’m not in a position to be able to give very large sums of monies, so I try to divide it up between each organization. To some, I might give $18, & some others I might give $36. If I feel I want to give more, so I give as much as I feel I can give at that time.


    Thanks for the answers!

    I guess my question now is this – I understand the “split” philosophy and I totally agree with it, in a way, but then I also still feel like now, instead of really making somewhat of a difference in someone’s life, I’m just adding to a drop in the bucket and hoping that 500 other “me’s” will finish the job. Is this a correct way of thinking or is it really probably my yetzer hara keeping me from giving as many people and as many different causes as possible? I’d like to think it’s coming from a good/thinking place but I’m totally open to someone proving to me how it’s not. I just feel bad that if I have a certain amount put aside and something comes up that I really want to give to, that I feel like I can’t give everything because I feel like I have to “split it”.


    smile66, I can understand how you feel, but I don’t think you have to feel so bad about this. Money is tight is many homes especially in these bad economic times. I don’t think it’s a drop in the bucket as you mention. I’m sure these people do get donations from other people as well. I don’t know if they get from 500 other people. But I would imagine that they do get some of it. In addition, I don’t think that it’s incorrect to think that it’s wrong to give to various different places. Not everyone is in a position to be able to give so generously to one person/organization. The more a person is able to distribute his tzedakah to different places, the greater the mitzvah. Hatzlacha w/ your dilemma.


    Thanks again! I always heard that splitting up money was better but I never really understood why. So thanks for trying to explain it to me. I appreciate it! I feel a little more at ease now.


    smile, maybe ask a rav or teacher. i know that there is a long ramban in mishpatim (i think) about tzedaka. i remember learning it in like 10th or 11th grade. it lists the different ways to give tzedaka, and who comes first when giving, and whether its better to give a lot to one person or a little to many….



    Maybe the question is:

    Are we supposed to give tzeddakah because it’s a mitzvah or because we are rachmanim bnei rachmanim?

    If it’s because it’s a mitzvah then I can understand giving smaller denominations to more people.

    If it’s because we are rachmanim then I can understand giving a larger donation to a single person in order to be more beneficial.


    derech – exactly.

    Then again, how can mitzvos and our inborn rachmanus contradict? If one has to have the upper hand on the other, then the mitzvah must “win”, no? So is it really a battle, or am I just not able to see the harmony?


    Then again, how can mitzvos and our inborn rachmanus contradict?

    It is called Mechias Amalek.

    If one has to have the upper hand on the other, then the mitzvah must “win”, no? So is it really a battle, or am I just not able to see the harmony?

    That is part of your responsibility to have Shviras HaMiddos. Too much Rachmanus is bad. Shaul HaMelech learned that the hard way, by allowing Agag to live.

    DHM: That is a silly question, and you know it, so I won’t call you on it.


    Smile, speak to your Rav. Its not just a matter of splitting, its also a matter of where your money goes.

    For instance, you are supposed to support the poor in your family and city before others.

    Also, if you go for the organization route, look for those with low overhead.


    list of preferences:

    1 any pikuach nefesh

    2 Torah study

    3 med bills of poor

    4 building a shul

    5 all other needs of poor


    While on the subject of tzedoka, what would you answer to the following? One of our mother’s aides/nurse who is with us for a few years came with an envelope today and asked if we can donate to her house of worship. They lost their lease and need money. She is with our family and sees our community and sees the way we help each other so she too is asking for our charity.

    She is a seventh adventist! Yes, we will ask our Rav how to handle this, but i figured some of you will have a laugh reading this.


    Lia, What a chutzpa on her part.

    first, for you to give her, is simply assur!!

    How to do it diplomatically? “we right now have committed our charity”.

    when u see avovda zara “shaketz teshaktzenu”, of course you are not permiited to support avoda zara!!

    Be proud she appreciates how charitable we are.


    first, for you to give her, is simply assur!!

    I don’t know the halachot of tzedaka that well, but why would it be assur? 7th day adventists are not necessarily considered A”Z. In addition, you can give maaser to non-Jews if they are needy (at least, per my Rav).


    “Lia, What a chutzpa on her part.”

    Why is it a chutzpah on her part. If she recognizes that you are charitable people why shouldn’t she think to ask.

    How to deal with the request is a different story. I guess speak to your local orthodox Rabbi and see what he says.


    to smile66 and derech hamelech: about what you wrote “Are we supposed to give tzeddakah because it’s a mitzvah or because we are rachmanim bnei rachmanim?” and “Then again, how can mitzvos and our inborn rachmanus contradict?”

    From where did you hear that tzedakah does not go together with the mida of rachamim and beney rachamim, or even to say, they contradict each other?? You’re implying that giving “smaller” sums to different organizations it not being bene rachamim. Quite the contrary. The more often you give, even if its much smaller sums, the more that you practice your middah of giving. And the more an action is done, the greater positive change it has on your middah. Furthemore, tzedakah has two “parts.” One is the physical aspect, and one is the spiritual. So even if you give a coin, the spiritual reward for the mitzvah is enormous. And who knows what “effects” this spiritual merit will have on the physical needs of others – just to open the horizons a bit.

    And true, we don’t do a mitzvah because of the rewards – but I wanted to point out from your example there’s no basis to concluded that giving tzedakah in small amounts to different places contradicts being benei rachamim. Furthemore, if a thousand people give 1 dollar to a thousand organizations, or a thousand people each give one thousand dollars to one unique organization – the monetary outcome is the same. But in the first example, each gave 1000 times, and has build up that trait much more.

    But certainly, a Rav would need to be consulted.

    All the best

    Patur Aval Assur

    Avos 3:15, as explained by the Rambam, Rabbeinu Yonah, the Orchos Tzadikim et al.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Excellent, PAA. I believe this is what CA was referring to.

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