Tithing of Money
Is tithing of money (10 percent) still valid today?
Charity is a commandment that is incumbent on everyone and it teaches us the very important lesson that the money we control is actually funds that have been “entrusted” to us by God. One should not assume that if he works for his money that it belongs to him without any preconditions. Rather, whatever money we have has been granted to us by God, and we must prove ourselves worthy of being the recipients of it. Therefore, we take some of our “hard earned cash” and give it to those who are less fortunate than us.
The Code of Jewish Law (Yoreh Deah 249) states that the minimum amount that one should give is one-tenth and that one-fifth is the maximum amount that should be given to charity. This calculation should be made based on one’s net income and not his gross income.
There are various sources in the Torah for the concept of giving a tenth to charity. Avraham gave Malkitzedek a tenth of all he had (Gen. 14:20). Yaakov pledged that he would give a tenth of all he had to God (Gen. 28:22). There are numerous mentions of this concept also in the writings of the Prophets, in Midrashim, and in the Talmud with its commentaries.
I thoroughly recommend a book in English by Cyril Domb entitled Maaser Kesafim, published by Feldheim. It comprehensively covers all the laws pertaining to one’s obligation to give charity.
Please note that this article is dealing with tithing money. There are other commands to “tithe” produce from the Land of Israel to give to Kohanim (Priests), Levi’im (Levites) and the poor, as well, that are written in the Torah. I plan to address these other topics in the future, God willing.