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The first tithe (Hebrew: ma'aser rishon מעשר ראשון) is a positive commandment in the Torah requiring the giving of one tenth of agricultural produce, after the giving of the standard terumah, to the Kohen (Jewish priest) (or Levite). This giving is required to be free of both monetary and servicial compensation.

Historically, during the First Temple period, the first tithe was given to the Levite. Approximately at the beginning of the Second Temple construction, Ezra and his Beth din implemented its giving to the kohanim.[1][2]

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  • Testing Hashem |The Power of Money | Tithing (Maaser)
  • Should the church teach tithing? 9of22
  • Should the church teach tithing? 6of22


Torah 42: Likutey Moharan: That when Hashem (the Creator) hears the sorrow of the Jewish nation, He listens, He accepts their prayers. By music, by singing to Hashem, you cancel all judgments, like it's written in the Holy Zohar, that the rainbow, that's the holy presence of Hashem, and the three main colors of the rainbow, they are our ancestors, the holy fathers. And they are the holy presence of Hashem dressed itself with the holy ancestors. All of the members of the Jewish nation are only coverings of the holy presence of Hashem. When we are going to stand in front of Hashem (the Creator) after 120 years, and we're going to see the greatness of Hashem, and Who He is actually, and that we couldn't recognize Him, and we didn't count on Him, it's going to be a very big disappointment for each and every one of us. Not to believe in Hashem is mockery. Not to count on Hashem is mockery. When you have foreign thoughts against Hashem, that means that you're denying His existence. You have foreign thoughts, you're worshiping idols, you don't have faith in Hashem. When you're afraid, that means that you're not counting on Hashem. When you don't call to Hashem when you have difficulties, you missed life, you missed your life, you lost your opportunity to live with Hashem. And even more so, when the person has foreign thoughts, bad thoughts, he is speaking slander on Hashem, "Hashem, He doesn't love me." Those things are horrible thoughts against Hashem, when Hashem is going to judge the person after 120, He is going to tell him, "okay, I forgive you, but you lost your life." You lost your life. You just lost your life. Wasting your life, chasing and running after imaginations. When you had the opportunity to nullify yourself completely to your father in Heaven, to follow your father in Heaven, like our ancestors followed Him. When Abraham was commanded by Hashem to jump into the fire, he just did it, he didn't ask any questions, he just jumped into the fire, because he knew that the One that commanded him to jump into the fire is the One that created fire, the One that controls the power of fire, the heat of fire. The Creator is going to command His angels to watch over you, to protect you in all of your ways. They're going to take you on their wings, so that you’re not going to be injured in your or in your feet. You walk on snakes and they will not bight you. You are going to walk on lions and they won't devour you. But that's only if you're going to believe in Hashem. That promise is waiting and ready for the ones that are going to count on Him. But for the ones that are not counting on Him, the ones that don't believe in Him, they have different promises. 98 curses. Curses are a result, it's not like someone is standing and cursing the person. "You know, I am going to do this etc." It's the result, if you're going to drive in the opposite direction than the rest of cars, that's exactly what's going to happen to you, you're going to meet 98 curses. You're just going to meet 98 cars, running from the other direction. Hashem is going somewhere, and He's telling you, "Come with me. Let's go together, hand in hand. Give Me your heart, and I'm going to lead you in a new way, on a new path." Hashem is saying that through His righteous people, those are His messengers, they are dressed, wearing the holy presence of Hashem. The holy presence of Hashem in between us, is inside of us. If a person doesn't believe in that, he is mocking! He is far from Hashem, and he's wasting his life. Every moment that someone lives without Hashem, it would have been better for him to die in his mother's womb. Because to live with Hashem, the one that lives with Hashem (the Creator) he lives an eternal life. Eternal life means that you lived your life with Hashem, and then you're going to have an eternal existence also in the world to come. I know, we don't care about that, we really don't care about that. I really don't care about that. I'm not just saying. It's not...when I'm thinking about things, when I'm counting, when I'm calculating things, I'm not thinking about the world to come. Never. It never comes into my mind. It exists. I know that it exists, but I'm not doing anything for that. Never ever ever. Yesterday night, I had a long meeting, a very important meeting with the Biala Rabbi, and he told me some amazing, very, very important things. I am going to be the person I am. That I promise you. But I am always trying to offer you the opportunity to join me and become one with me together, that you will also enjoy from that incense, that you will also enjoy from what Hashem is giving us. But if you will just hear it always, and not do, then it will not bring you anywhere. And I'm talking to the ones that are arguing, because you're not giving enough. Why am I saying that you're not giving enough? Because you're still wining, because you still don't see the light. But if you would give enough, you would see the light. Because what blocks the person, our Rabbi is saying, is that small coin. There is a small coin, that it cannot block the light of the sun, but if you take that small coin, that is very tiny, that it cannot block the sun, but you put it so close to your eye, stuck like that, you cannot see anything except that small coin. So when you have such big problems, and you cannot see the light of Hashem. "Where is Hashem? Where is Hashem? I cannot see Hashem!" It's only because you're focusing on your fears, on your desires." And you make them to be something so major, and important and hard in your life. But if you just push them a little bit away from you, and you're just going to try to bring back the light of Hashem into your life, you're going to understand that we're talking about some coins. Some coins. Some small issues that you can solve them. You say, "Okay, that's one problem, I am going to think about it, I am going to see what to do about it. That's another problem, I'm going to see, I'm going to deal with it a little bit later, in the future. Another issue that I have, okay, I'll see what I can do with it." And this is how you change all of your problems into solutions. You just bring them into proportion, and then you can deal with them. For that you require inflicting the soul, big, big, big inflicting of the soul. Inflicting of the soul means to give yourself. I know that you're afraid, I was also afraid, but through all of my life experiences, and my repentance process, whenever I recognized a point of truth, I followed that truth all the way. And I couldn't care less about the risk and the difficulty that it's going to bring. When my wife told me after ten months of living in a certain apartment, that she cannot stay in that place anymore, I told her, "We're moving out." And she said, "We don't have money." All her fears. Everything that she saw, I was fighting against it. Not with her, with myself, with my fears, against Hashem. And I was ready to commit myself, and I went to look for another apartment, and for sure it was bigger and for sure it was more expensive, and for sure it was in a better neighborhood and for sure it was with a backyard, and with a porch, and whatever she was lacking in the old house. And like that, we moved more than ten houses. But only because I was ready to sacrifice everything for that. Because Hashem gives to you whatever you need. And if you're narrow minded and you say. "No, okay, I don't need much, I don't need that." It's only because you don't understand that that's the satisfaction of Hashem, to make you live, to give you life, to make you happy, and every other thought that you have in your mind is wrong! Is twisted! Is bent! Is awkward! Is embarrassing! You are going to stand in front of Hashem (the Creator) and you are going to have to explain to Him why you didn't pray for big things, why you didn't help the righteous people really, with all of your heart. Why when you had such a big, huge, opportunity to do something big for the world, why are you leaning back? Why were you waiting for salvation? Why were you not bringing the salvation. Why were you not carving the way for thousands of other people, when you were able to do that. All of those questions are questions that I am not going to deal with, I am not going to deal with those embarrassments. I am not going to stand in that embarrassing situation. Because I am sacrificing every moment of my life for the benefit of Hashem, for Hashem's salvation. When I spoke to Rabbi Shalom Arush a few days ago, we were talking about that point. I asked him, "How can it be, that from all of your students there is not one, one, one student, one, from all of your students you don't have one except for me? I am not afraid of anyone. There is no one except for me that gave everything, everything for the Jewish nation like Rabbi Shalom. Except for me. No one. Not one! I am not afraid of them." I learned in that yeshiva for 12 years. I know all of the students. I know the ones in Israel. I know the ones abroad. I know the ones in Jerusalem. The ones in Cholon. I know it all. I know exactly how the system works. I've been there with Rabbi Shalom, for 12 years of my life I was with him. I know exactly what's happening after his classes, how people are taking his wisdom, and what they are doing with it, and how everyone wants to be a torah scholar, and how everyone wants to have sustenance, and how everyone wants to have peace in the house, and how everyone wants to succeed in life and be close to a Rabbi. I know. Good things. But Rabbi Shalom, he doesn't care about being a torah scholar, and he doesn't care about his sustenance. And he doesn't care about anything. No physical success is going to please his. He's got only one thing in his heart, a flame of fire, "the Jewish Nation." And I got that point from him, that's my inner point, and when I spoke to Rabbi Shalom on that thing, he told me, "I told you that a lot of times already before, two days ago or three days ago." He told me, "I told you that thing a lot of times before, you and I are the same, we came from the same place in Heaven." That's what he told me. And it's not the first time that he told me that. And I don't need him to tell me that, because I told him that before. Because I know it from the bottom of my heart, like I told him that once. I told him, "Rabbi, even though you're so righteous, and you know where I am holding, that I am a lot farther than you, but we're the same." I am not afraid to say the truth when I know that it's the truth. I am not making it up. I don't want people to respect me like they respect Rabbi Arush. I wish that they are going to respect Rabbi Arush, and they are just going to let me do my job. I just want to fulfill my mission in this lifetime. I don't need any honor from anyone. I don't care about honor. I care about your souls. I just care about the members of the Jewish nation's souls, and the souls of the people that need to convert. That's what I care about. And I want to wish that everyone will be happy, that everyone will be happy. That everyone - the non-Jews will be happy, the nations will be happy. Everyone will be happy. That's my will. That's my holy desire. And I have it. And I know myself. I don't need anyone to agree, anyone to give me their approval, to agree on who I am and to testify. Even though I heard a lot of righteous people confirm those understanding that I have about myself. So he told me, "What can you do? Moses has only Joshua, and Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, he had only Rabbi Nathan. What can I do?" That is what Rabbi Shalom said three days ago. And if you think that it made me happy, so you're wrong. I don't care about that. I don’t care about being Joshua, and not about being Rabbi Natan. I don't need those titles, I don't need those names. I don't need that. It doesn't make me happy. What does make me happy? That it's written about Joshua, that in the days of Joshua the Jewish nation didn't sin. Why? Because Joshua was like Moses. He was shining to the Jewish nation in such a light, that they never sinned, that they couldn't sin in front of Joshua, Joshua was there, so they couldn't sin. And I know that I have that power. I know that when I am teaching you and when I am talking to you, I am able to give you more power and more will to serve Hashem, and to commit yourself to Hashem. I know that you have that gift. So what's the difference between me and Joshua? The difference is that our Rabbi said to Rabbi Nathan, that after Rabbi Nathan, there will be something different, something new, students are going to make students. After Joshua passed away, the Jewish nation sinned, they went down, but after Rabbi Nathan the light is just growing. So if know I have that gift, that I received that gift, I know that from my student the light is going to continue, it's not going to stop. And on that I'm counting. On that wonderful promise of our holy Rabbi, that his fire is never going to turn off. Will never go down, it's just going to get stronger and stronger and stronger, and you can see the results already. But how much you will receive, depends on how much you're going to give, and how much you’re going to sacrifice. And it's talking on all of the ways. It's talking about your prayers, it counts on your prayers, it counts on your dedication to distribution to the Hafatza. It depends on how much money you're going to donate and give to the Emunah Channel, to the Emunah project. It depends on how much time you're going to spend talking to other people and helping them understand the real meaning of life. It depends on how much you are going to take those advice and keep them. And not only hear them when you're watching the videos. Just you're going to try to change your life according to the wisdom that you purchased now in class. And on that it all depends. Your spiritual success does not depend on me, it depends on you. It depends on how much you're going to give, and how much you’re going to give on your soul. With all of your heart, from all of the powers of your spirit, with everything that you have, with everything that you have. And you're going to see the results, and you need to believe in Hashem. To believe in Hashem is not to follow, is not to obey, it’s to follow with all of your heart, with a 100 percent understanding that you're going to be redeemed, that you will be answered, that your prayers are going to be answered, that you’re going to receive everything that you wish to receive, and more than that, and that Hashem has things to give you, that you're not even aware of. To His greatness, to His wealth, to His richness, to His kindness, to how much He wants to give you, to how much He wants to give you. But we need to open ourselves to that, we have to open ourselves to that. We have to open ourselves to that. We don't have another choice, because if we are going to choose something else, in that moment, we lost our life, we lost our opportunity to a real connection with Hashem (the Creator). To a real communication with the life source, with the source of life, the source of all good. In the private conversation with Hashem, what you can achieve is to expand your channel, is to bring down light to the world, when you do personal prayer, when you nullify yourself to Hashem, and you talk to Hashem like you talk to your best friend, and you say, "Please Hashem, answer my prayers. Please Hashem, let me believe in You, let me count on You, let me not be afraid, that I will never be scared, that I will never be angry. Please Hashem, let me see You always, let me see, let me remember You when I am talking to people. Let me remember You when I am going to work, when I am working, when I'm eating, when I'm sleeping, when I'm showering, when I'm in the bathroom. Always, let me remember you, let me never forget you. Let me always think about you, that I will never distract my thoughts from You. I will never fall to any confusion. I will never believe in foreign things, in other powers. I will never count on people; I will never count on doctors, on lawyers, to think that people have powers, to think that people are going to save me, to think that people are going to help me. That I will always see You Hashem, that I will always talk to You, that I will always try to please you, to make You happy, that I will serve only You, that I am going to love only You, that I won't have lost, and I won't have any desires, that I will never think about food, that I will never think about money, never going to think about women, never going to think about houses and backyards, never going to think about clothes, never going to think about my hair cut, never going to think about my sunglasses. I am always going to just want to dedicate my life to you, and to worship you, and to praise you, and to open the eyes of other people, to believe in you, that everyone is going to see you. It's written on our father Abraham, "Abraham, he loved me." And our Rabbi taught us in means that he was teaching other people to love Hashem (the Creator). That's how you show that you love Hashem. How are you going to show that you love Hashem? If you make more followers, if you bring more people to love Hashem. Okay, I love Hashem. Great. Okay. So you're not useful, you're worthless, if you just love Hashem, Great! Thank you very much. You love Me. Okay. Thank you. You want a candy? Here, take a candy. What do you need? What do you want from Hashem? You love Hashem? Give something from yourself, show your love. I love you, my wife. How do you show your love to me if you let me work like your slave. How can you love me? If you love me, so give me a hand. Give me a shoulder, give me your back, give me your time. I love you. And you're all day long in the office? I love you. And you let me wash all of the dishes? I love you. And you let me cook all of the meals? I love you. And you let me wash the house? I love you. And you let me fix the sheets, the blankets? I love you. And you let me go and do the shopping alone? I love you. And you let me carry all of traumas and all of my bad thoughts alone on my back, to drag my childhood with me to the age of 70? And you're not helping me, and you’re not listening to me? I love you. You're a liar! If you love someone, you do everything. You let him open himself, you ask him, "How are you? What's going on? How can I help you?" You see that he's suffering you say, "Hey, let me help you, let me do the dishes, I'll help you cook. Do you need me to do something? I'm going to learn. I don't know how to do it, so please teach me. Or maybe if I can't learn, okay, so let me do something else. What can I do for now?" And go do. Don't wait for commandments, don't wait. If you love, you give. If you love Hashem, so go think about what Hashem needs. What does Hashem lack? What does Hashem not have? What can I do for Hashem? Me. A small fly. A cockroach, a worm. What can I do? A barking dog. What can I do for Hashem (the Creator). What, I am a dog, okay, I can guard. Okay I am an ant, okay, so I can collect some wheat. I am a cockroach, okay, so I can make evil people scared of me. I can do something good. I can do something useful. I am going to find something useful. If you're the worst, you still have job in the world. And we're not the worst, we are the presence of Hashem, we are the presence of Hashem, we just don't appreciate ourselves, you don't understand your greatness. You don't understand who you are and what your mission is. Your mission is to give half of your life to Hashem. 51 percent of your life back to Hashem. Half of your life at least, you need to give to Hashem. At least! At least! At least 51 percent of your life you need to give back to Hashem. Maybe that is the house of Shammai, so if you're the house of Hillel, so you need to give 49 percent. You need to give at least 49 percent. That's if you're the house of Hillel. If you're strict, you keep the opinion of the house of Hillel. Great. I don't want it. It's disgusting. Honestly, literally. The reason, the thing that broke the ice for Rabbi Berlan, that Rabbi Berlan decided to be a breslev disciple, he was a disciple before. He was serving Hashem (the Creator) before he knew anything about breslev. And then he read that our Rabbi wrote that you need to hate money as much as you can hate something in the world, that's how you should hate money. I once asked Rabbi Shalom what it means to hate money so much. He said, "What do you do with something that you hate? You kick it away from you, you hate it, you don't want it." Something like waste, something stinky, something that disgusts you. What do you do with it? You take it out. You take it away from you. That's how you should hate money. People are wrapped up in money. People love money. Our Rabbi is talking about the story of stories. Oy vey to the shame, to the disgrace of what is going to happen in judgement day for the people that will have money, the people that, oy vey, the people that have money. Oy vey. Yaakov, it's yours. The disgrace, the shame, that people that have money, the disgrace that they will have, to have money. The shame. "Why, what's the Shame? Hashem, you gave me that money, it's my money Hashem. What's the shame? What's the problem of holding money? Hashem gave me that money. I am giving a tenth to charity." There is a person that doesn't have food for Sabbath, and you carry your own money, and he doesn't have bread for Sabbath, and you have money. You don't understand what we're talking about. The Baal Shem Tov, one time, he couldn't sleep at night, he woke his wife in the middle of the night. He asked her, "Tell me. Do we have money in the house somewhere? I cannot sleep?" She told him, "Yes, I am sorry, I was putting something aside for tomorrow, it's Friday, we need to buy some groceries for Sabbath." He told her, "You know I cannot sleep when there is money in the house." He took the money., he went out , he knocked on a poor person's door, he put the money there, and ran away before he would wake up. Ran away! Could not sleep! The one that gives life, is going to give us the sustenance. You think that Hashem is not going to give you the sustenance tomorrow? You're crazy! You're sick in the mind. You're talking slander on the Creator. You don't know what you're doing. You're causing damage to yourself. You're blocking the bounty. You, yourself are blocking your own bounty. Because you wait to have more money and then you're going to give. You're a liar, you're a pathetic liar! Meanwhile, you're eating, and you're drinking, and you're living, and you're buying, and you're doing things, and you're investing, and you don't give. You don't have the merit to give. You don't have the privilege from Heaven to give. You think that you're thinking, you think that you're choosing, you think that you're calculating your moves wisely. You're stupid. You're dumb. You're a fool! You don't have a brain in your skull, you don't have intelligence in your mind, like an animal. You're more stupid than a donkey. I am telling you that from my heart. I don't care what you're going to think about me. You can all go. You can all go and ship yourself to Miami. I don't care what you're going to do. Buy a yacht in Miami, sail all day long. I don't care what you're going to do. I am just trying to help you save your lives. You have domestic peace in the house problems - main reason - you are a cheap animal. That's your problem. You are more cruel than a raven. You are cruel to your wife. Main reason, you're not giving your wife enough. And not only to your wife, also to charity. You have issues with your children, your children don't respect you. Main reason, because you're cheap. I am telling you from the bottom of my heart, "You are cheap." This is why your children can't stand you. Because you are cheap. Because you're stupid, because you're cheap. And if you don't believe me, I don't have a problem with that. I'm not holding you. The truth is that you have mental issues, you don't see Hashem. You don't recognize reality, that Hashem (the Creator), He gives you, and when you show Hashem, "Hashem, I believe in You" And on that Hashem says, "Test me on that." Hashem says that only on that. Only on money. Only on money Hashem says that, "Test me on that." People are scared to give a tenth. It's not your money, you're stealing from the poor. You're not Robin Hood, stealing from the rich, you're stealing from the poor. Your ten percent does not belong to you. Or your 20 percent, one fifth, does not belong to you, you're stealing money from the poor. Your charity money should be beyond one tenth, charity - there is no amount to charity. Charity can be 100 percent, you need to help to give to honor your wife with more than you have! It's charity, you need to give more than the ten percent. Ten percent, we're not talking about that, it's not yours when you're eating that food, when you live in that house, when you wear those clothes, you are wearing someone else's clothes, and that person doesn't have clothes now. If the rich people of the Jewish Nation, the Jewish rich people, would just give their ten percent, there would not be one poor person in the world! Not in just the Jewish nation. If we would just keep the simple commandment of giving one tenth, I am not talking about charity. Not one person will be poor. If the Jewish nation would give their charity wisely. Wisely. Look for someone humble, look for someone that is going to help you give your one tenth money to someone that really needs that money. Look for the right messenger to help you to take care of your charity. You have to do it. If you don't do it, you are bringing judgments on yourself. I don't know how stupid you can be to not follow my advice. I don't know how stupid a person can be not to follow my advice. I am telling you that from the bottom of my heart. I am following my advice. For the last 15 years I am following my advice, that's what I'm doing. I am following my inner truth and I see the success, and I see where it brings me. A women that heard my class in Brooklyn, in Brooklyn it was, in New York, in Brooklyn, she heard my class. She was crying the whole class. She was sitting in the women's section and she was crying. Abraham met her in Jerusalem. She asked him, "Where are you going? What are you doing?" He told her, "I am going to Yeshiva." Where are you learning?" "The Emunah Center" She said, "What? You're learning with Rav Dror?" He tole her, "Yes." She started to cry, she just remembered for a minute here in Jerusalem, that Rabbi from the class in Brooklyn. She started to cry again. It's her point of truth. It's her point of truth. Today Nissim and his family made Aliya, they're here in Jerusalem already. While we're sitting here, they're putting their stuff in their new house in Jerusalem. And his brother-in-law, Yosef, is coming tomorrow morning. In 24 hours from now he is going to prepare himself for Sabbath in Jerusalem, going to look for a mikve (holy waters) in Jerusalem. A different life. A different life. A life of loyalty to yourself, to your inner truth, to your inner truth, to be who you are, not to lie to yourself, "No, I'm going to give, I'm going to give. Yes, I'm going to give." Don't say when I am going to come to that intersection, then I will turn. You might not get to that intersection. So you're going to cross all of your life without giving one tenth. You're going to cross all of your life without sitting with someone and helping them learn the Aleph Bet. You're going to spend all of your life without bringing anyone to repent, without helping any person in a real way of helping someone. You're just going to waste your life being useless. Eating and drinking, and wearing and sleeping, and chatting and calling, and talking and going to the shower, and to the bathroom, and then eating again, and then sleeping again, and watching some movies, and very important news that is talking about the IDF and Israel. Wow. Thank you for your help. We really appreciate your help watching news on Israel. You're a real Zionist. Thank you. You helped us a lot. Thank you for hating our enemies from the United States. Thank you. You are our hero. Thank you for your support. Useless. Empty. Empty life. Empty life. Empty embarrassing life. But Hashem, He always gives a second chance. He always gives an opportunity to give, and to contribute, and to help, and to support, and to fix everything that you messed up until today. And you can always regret, and always repent, and always come back to Hashem. And you can always pray to Hashem, "Teach me the real truth, Your truth. What should I do? What should I do? What should I do?" So I will tell you what you should do. You should give at least ten percent of your income to the Emunah Project, that's what you should start with, that's the first thing that you should start with. At least ten percent of your income to the Emunah Project. It's written, "Donate, or donate, or donate, or donate." That's what you should do. You should have courage to do that, and you will see that you're not going to lose, you're just going to gain, and I promise each and every one of you, that's going to be a partner with me in this world, that you’re going to be a partner with me in the world to come. And I promise to share with you, like I am sharing with every good thing that I have in this world, to share with you from every good thing that I will have in the world to come. And I will have. I will have. And I will share everything with you. With the ones that are going to give from their life to our project. It's the Jewish nation's project. It's Hashem's project. It's not a business. It's a non-profit organization, that works to help the poor, and the weak, and the ones that are suffering, and the ones the need strength, and the ones that lack faith, lack wisdom, lack the understanding of what to do with their lives’, and they are lost. And we are helping them, one after the other to reestablish their lives’ here, in Jerusalem, in the best place in the world, and to receive the highest, highest, highest wisdom of them all, simple wisdom, clean and clear and pure wisdom. Wisdom of Hashem, the torah of Hashem. Before I open my mouth, I don't know what to say. Exactly like it's written on our Rabbi Nachman, that he made an oath once on Sabbath. He said, "I swear, on the holy Sabbath, that I don't know anything. I don't know." And one moment after, he opened his mouth and gave over such torah. It's not torah, it's the light of Hashem (the Creator). And Hashem is dressing Himself with the righteous people, with our ancestors, with true righteous people. He's revealing his wisdom to the last generation, through us, through the people that have returned, through the ones that are nullifying themselves completely to Him. And He's praising them. So I bless you. Each and every one of you to be a partner of me and my brothers here in the Emunah Center, to be partners. And you're going to be rewarded big time on that. In this world and in the world to come. Thank you very much. May you be strengthened and blessed.


Hebrew Bible

The tithe gift is discussed in the Hebrew Bible (Numbers 18:21–26) according to which a tenth of the produce was to be presented to a Levite who then gave a tenth of the first tithe to a kohen (Numbers 18:26). Tithing was seen as performing a mitzvah done in joyful obedience to God. Giving tithe would open oneself up to receipt of divine blessing.[3]


The Torah instructs that the tithe should be of the "five grains",[4] wine, olive oil, fruit, and cattle (Leviticus 27:30–33). The time for taking such tithes was at the finished stage of processing the produce (Numbers 18:30). Unlike terumah given to the Kohen, the ma'aser rishon was not regarded as sacred, and as a result did not have to be ritually pure, neither was it required to be eaten in any particular state (such as the Temple in Jerusalem). Once received by the Levite, it was regarded simply as ordinary property, and they could pass it on to non-Levites, or sell it, as they wished.

Traditionally tithes were calculated for the produce of each whole year, however Chazalic Literature indicates that there was a debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel as to when this tithing year should begin and end. Tithing years had different starts and ends depending on the particular crop in question; land crops began their tithe year on the first of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah); according to Eleazar ben Shammua and Simeon bar Yohai the first of Tishri was also the start of the tithe year for cattle, but according to Rabbi Meir it was the first of Elul that held this honour. The followers of Hillel argued that the tithe year for fruit from trees began on the fifteenth of Shevat, but the followers of Shammai, his rival, argued that it began on the first of Shevat; the view of Hillel's followers eventually became the majority view and the new year for treesTu Bishvat — is now held at the date which they considered appropriate.[5]

In the priestly code

In classical rabbinical literature, according to which the entire Torah was principally written by Moses, the first tithe is contrasted with the poor tithe, and second tithe, as entirely different tithes from each other, and for this reason gave the tithes the distinct names they possess; these latter tithes, which are mentioned by the Deuteronomic Code, differ by not covering cattle or fruit, and rather than just going to the Levites, are in one case shared among the poor and other charitable destinations, and in the other go to the food producer themselves. According to some secular scholars, the poor tithe and the second tithe, when taken together, are a conflicting version of the same single tithe as the first tithe; the poor tithe and second tithe together being the Deuteronomist's version and the first time being the version of the priestly source.[5]

Although such scholars speculate that the deuteronomist is a later author than the priestly source, scholars believe that much of the Deuteronomic Code was a reaction against the regulations introduced by the Priestly Code,[6] and that here it reflects the earlier situation. In the Book of Ezekiel, which some scholars believe predates the Priestly Code, meaning that according to their view the Priestly Code must post-date the Babylonian Exile, there is no mention whatever of a tithe appointed for the Levites, and in the Deuteronomic Code, though Levites have a share of the ma'aser sheni, their share is seemingly voluntary, and it can alternatively be given to strangers, widows, and/or paternal orphans; in the Priestly Code, however, donation of the tithe to the Levites is compulsory.[5] Of course, if the ma'aser sheni tithe, also mentioned in Leviticus, were originally different from ma'aser rishon, there is a simpler explanation for the variation.

The clear differentiation between the kohens (the priests) and the other Levites, in the regulations given by the Priestly Code for the ma'aser rishon, is a distinction scholars attribute to the pro-Aaronid political bias of the priestly source; according to the Biblical revisionists' worldview, all Levites can be legitimate priests, which is likely to be why the Deuteronomist does not mention a tithe of the tithe (the portion of the tithe which is given to the priests rather than other Levites), since it would be somewhat meaningless.[6] On the other hand, it raises a question about the distinction between ma'aser and terumah. In the Priestly Code it is stated that the ma'aser rishon existed as the source of sustenance for the Levites, since they had no territory, and hence nowhere to keep livestock or perform agriculture (Numbers 18:21–24). but this seemingly neglects the existence of a number of scattered Levite cities;[7] scholars believe that the tithe (i.e. the tithe of which the ma'sar ani and ma'aser rishon are conflicting versions) actually arose as a generic heave offering, given to priests at the sanctuaries for their sustenance, and only became distinct when the Aaronids began to position themselves as the only Levites that could be legitimate priests.[5] This view neglects the fact that cities are not agricultural centers and the tithing laws focus on agricultural produce. According to a holistic view of the Torah, the Levites had no portion in the fields. The Book of Amos, cited by some scholars for support of their proposition, admonishes the Israelites about their rebellious offerings to idols by mentioning practices that would be acceptable to idolatry but not Torah Law.[5][8] Thus, Amos sarcastically remarks that they bring "for three days your tithes", as well as saying that they should offer their todah offerings of leaven (which was forbidden, see Lev. 2:11). Amos 4:5. The text itself does not bear out such scholars identification between ma'aser rishon and ma'sar ani. First, the text clearly does not state "three years," it states "three days". Second, the text expressly proposes deviant practices as forms of rebellion. Finally, the owner of the produce was not required to bring ma'sar ani to the Temple; but, rather to the poor, no matter where there were. Likewise, this confused story does not clearly demonstrate how ma'aser sheni developed into a system where the owner separated the tithe for himself and had nothing to do with kings or priests.

Contemporary practice

Orthodox Judaism regards the tithe as still being required for any produce grown within the historic boundaries of the ancient Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah, covering the modern territories of the state of Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and portions of western Jordan. However, because ma'aser rishon has no inherent sanctity, consistent with Numbers 18:31 (Levite tithes are wages), after terumat ma'aser has been removed, it is governed by the monetary civil laws which put the proof of a claim for monetary compensation on the person making the demand (the plaintiff). Since the lineage of the Levites is currently uncertain, there is no obligation to provide ma'aser rishon to a questionable Levi, whereas there is no rabbinic prohibition by doing so.

Contemporary practice, after designating and setting aside terumah, is to make a formal declaration that the portion set aside is ma'aser rishon. Afterwards, terumat ma'aser is designated and set aside. Finally, depending on the year, ma'aser sheni or ma'sar ani are designated and tithed in the appropriate manner.

While tithes from produce may not be given to a Kohen or Levite, they may be fed to their animals.

See also


  1. ^ The Talmud Adin Steinsaltz 1992 "Yet if a priest has first tithe in his possession, he need not give it to a Levite. Ezra penalized the Levites of his generation because they did not return to Eretz Israel with him, and he decreed that first tithe should be given to ..."
  2. ^ Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian perspectives p329 James M. Scott - 2001 "One says that the Levites were punished because they did not come up to the Land of Israel during Ezra's days. The other says that the first tithe was given to the priests, so that they would have food when they were in a state of ..."
  3. ^ Rashi to Parshat Naso
  4. ^ (see the Mitzvah of Challah)
  5. ^ a b c d e
     One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJacobs, Joseph; Seligsohn, Max; Bacher, Wilhelm (1901–1906). "TITHE". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. Retrieved Aug 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Richard Elliott Friedman, Who wrote the Bible?
  7. ^ Peake's Commentary on the Bible
  8. ^ Amos 4:4

External links

This page was last edited on 23 January 2018, at 02:35.
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