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Vol. 17 Issue #8
Parshas Vayetzei
Tosafos (ibid s.v.
) cites a statement in the Sifrei (whichis not found in our current standard editions) that extrapo-lates from this entire expression that there are indeed twotithes which must actually be given. The first is the onetenth to be separated from one’s agricultural produce, thesecond is the one tenth to be given to the poor from anyother potential source of income, such as business or othercapital gains that one may have. This too, then, is a sourcefor the Mitzvah of Ma’aser Kesafim. It is worth noting thatthis same idea appears in the Yalkut Shimoni, in ParshasRe’eih (remez 893) and in the Midrash Tanchuma (ibid os18), where it is mentioned that this gift of one tenth of one’s business income should be given specifically to thosewho are involved in Torah study.The implication of the above sources is that the ob-ligation to give Ma’aser Kesafim to the poor is rooted in theTorah, a view which seems to be accepted by the Shaloh(Shnei Luchos Habris, Maseches Megillah – inyan tzeddakahuma’aser, s.v.
umikol makom
), among others. Most otherPoskim, however, do not consider this to be a Torah basedobligation. The Maharil, for example (shu”t Maharil, siman54, 56), writes clearly that the Mitzvah of Ma’aser Kesafimis MideRabbanan, and he consequently allows for certainleniencies in this obligation. The Chavos Yair too (shu”tChavos Yair siman 224), in a lengthy Teshuvah where hediscusses, among other things, what exactly is consideredincome and how to treat business expenses in this regard,likewise quotes an opinion that the obligation of Ma’aserKesafim is MideRabbanan, and that the Pesukim mentionedabove are just a
, a hint to the idea in the Torah. Henotes there as well that the aforementioned Yalkut Shimoni(ibid) writes specifically that the Posuk in the Torah is onlya
. The Aruch HaShulchan (Yoreh Deyah, siman 249seif 2) likewise writes that the requirement to give onetenth of one’s money to the poor is only MideRabbanan,and it is merely hinted at by the Posuk in this Parsha(Bereishis, ibid posuk 22) referred to above; the Ma’aser
Ma’aser KesafimMa’aser KesafimMa’aser KesafimMa’aser Kesafim
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When Yaakov Avinu, while running away from hisbrother Eisav, awakens after dreaming about the Malachimascending and descending the ladder, he davens to Hashem,and vows that if Hashem will provide for his needs and seethat he will return safely to his father’s home, he will giveHashem one tenth of whatever he has (Bereishis 28:20-22).In the Da’as Zekeinim MiBa’alei HaTosafos (ibid posuk 20s.v.
), a Midrash is cited which indicates that Yaakov atthat time instituted that one should give away one tenth of one’s money to Tzedakah. Although the Torah itself clearlypresents elsewhere the Mitzvah to support the poor by giv-ing Tzedakah (Vayikra 25:35, Devarim 15:7-8), no guide-lines are given as to specifically how much money or whatpercentage of one’s income must be given to Tzedakah inorder to properly fulfill this Mitzvah. The idea of givingone tenth of one’s agricultural produce to the poor is in-deed documented in the Torah (Devarim 26:12); this isknown as Ma’aser Ani, which was given in years three andsix of seven year Shemittah cycle. No other mention, how-ever, of a requirement to give specifically one tenth of any-thing to the poor is found in the Torah.Based upon a Posuk in Mishlei (3:9), however, theYerushalmi in Peiah (Perek 1 halacha 1, 3b) implies that oneis required to give Ma’aser Ani, a tithe of one tenth to thepoor, from all of one’s possessions, not just from agricul-tural produce. This view is cited by the Mordechai, in hiscommentary on the Gemara in Bava Kamma (siman 192,daf 53: B’dapei Harif), where it is presented as a source forthe Mitzvah to give Ma’aser Kesafim. Another source isfound in the commentary of Tosafos on the Gemara inTaanis (9a) which expounds upon a Posuk later in the Torah(Devarim 14:22) that contains the seemingly extraneousdouble use of a word in relationship to tithes (
 Aser T’aser 
10 Kislev 5773
Page 2
Vol. 17 Issue #8
actually required by the Torah relates only to one’s agricul-tural products, and is given to the poor only once everythree years.Still other authorities rule that giving Ma’aserKesafim to the poor is required neither by the Torah nor bythe Rabbanan, but is rather a Minhag, a proper custom.This position is articulated by the Bach, in his commentaryon the Tur (Yoreh Deyah, siman 331 s.v.
), when he dis-cusses what type of Tzedakah may be given with Ma’aserKesafim money, as opposed to Ma’aser Ani money, and isagreed to by Rav Yaakov Emden (shu”t sh’ailos Ya’avetzvol. 1 siman 6), who, quoting the above cited Posuk in thisParsha (ibid), writes that giving Ma’aser money to the pooris a
Middas Chasidus
, an act of piety learned form YaakovAvinu; he then proves that there is no actual obligation,even on the level of a Mitzvah MideRabbanan. In an earlierTeshuvah (ibid, siman 1), Rav Yaakov Emden quotes fromhis father the Chacham Tzvi that the Bach’s position is cor-rect, and he himself brings proofs to his father’s view in asubsequent Teshuvah (ibid, siman 3). The Chavos Yair, inthe aforementioned Teshuvah (ibid), agrees to this positionhimself as well; this seems to be the majority view. ThePischei Teshuvah (Yoreh Deyah, ibid, seif katan 12) notesthat this position that giving Ma’aser Kesafim is only a Min-hag was actually presented much earlier by the Maharam of Rothenburg. He then adds, however, that some hold thatalthough it is only a Minhag, once one has observed theMinhag, he shouldn’t stop doing so except in a situation of great need. Some of the above quoted Poskim discuss howmany times one must observe this practice before it is con-sidered that he has permanently adopted the Minhag.One of the issues which depends upon whether giv-ing Ma’aser Kesafim is an actual Mitzvah (from the Torah orfrom the Rabbanan) or whether it is simply a Minhag is thequestion of to whom one is required to give Ma’aserKesafim money. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deyah siman249 seif 1) writes that one must support the poor by givingthem as much as they need, keeping in mind how much hecan afford; giving one tenth is considered the average con-tribution, while one who wishes to be generous should giveone fifth, as suggested by the Gemara in Kesubos (50a).The Ramo (ibid) adds, though, that Ma’aser Kesafim moneymust be used specifically to be given to the poor, and notfor any other Mitzvah or to assist any other worthwhilecause. The Shach (ibid) quotes those who disagree and saythat expenses for a Mitzvah which one otherwise wouldnot have done may be paid for with one’s Ma’aser money.The view of the Ramo (ibid) is most likely based on therebeing a strong connection between Ma’aser Kesafim andMa’aser Ani; the latter had to be given to poor people andnot used even for Mitzvos. The view of the other Poskimprobably is that since giving Ma’aser Kesafim is simply aMinhag, its rules do not necessarily parallel those of theMitzvah to give Ma’aser Ani. The Chasam Sofer (shu”tChasam Sofer, Yoreh Deyah siman 232) makes this verydistinction; in his previous Teshuvah (ibid, siman 231) hesuggests that if when one first decides to undertake thepractice of giving Ma’aser Kesafim, one has in mind specifi-cally that he would like to use the money to pay for otherMitzvos or to support other charitable causes and not justgive it to the poor, he may do so.In terms of how to calculate one’s income for thepurpose of determining how much the one tenth is that hemust give away, Rav Moshe Feinstein (shu”t Igros Moshe,Yoreh Deyah vol.1 siman 143) writes that money which isheld back from one’s paycheck for withholding taxes isconsidered as if it was never his, and thus is not viewed aspart of his income; Ma’aser Kesafim need not be deductedfrom that portion of one’s salary. This is unlike moneywhich one actually has, but uses to pay for sales tax and thelike, which is nevertheless considered part of one’s in-come. He also discusses how to treat household expenses,such as funds needed for child support, in terms of whethersuch money is subject to Ma’aser Kesafim. Rav Yosef Ka-ro, in one of his Teshuvos (shu”t avkas rochel siman 3),seems to rule that funds spent on all essential householdneeds are not subject to the requirement of Ma’aserKesafim, but it is questionable as to whether or not thisview is accepted; Rav Ovadyah Yosef (shu”t yichaveh da’avol. 3 siman 76 os 4) discusses this matter, quoting numer-ous opinions. It is worth noting that the Chofetz Chaim, inhis treatise entitled Ahavas Chessed (inyan ma’aserkesafim, perek 18 os 2), offers specific guidelines as to howto properly observe the practice of giving Ma’aser Kesafim,including recommendations that one keep written recordsin a notebook about how much he gives to Tzedakah, aswell as that one should take a reckoning of one’s incomeand one’s Tzedakah contributions once or twice a year.He adds later (ibid perek 20 os 6) that one who is careful
Page 3
Vol. 17 Issue #8
about giving Ma’aser Kesafim is treated as though HashemHimself were his partner in business.
The Zechus of RachelThe Zechus of RachelThe Zechus of RachelThe Zechus of Rachel
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In this week’s
, Hashem remembers Racheland gives her a child. This comes right after the story of the
, in which Rachel asks Leah to share her special flow-ers. Rashi explains that the reason Hashem rememberedRachel is because she gave Leah the
. However, wemust ask why this
did not help her earlier, and whataspect of the story of the
strengthened this
.We know that normally it is
to marry two sis-ters; and we know that the Avos kept the entire Torah.However, Chazal tell us that the Avos had the right to usethe reasons of the
to decide when they apply. Thereason for this
is that we are afraid that the twowives will fight if they are sisters. Yaakov thought that Ra-chel and Leah were above that, so he was able to marrythem both.First, Yaakov married Leah and they were able tohave children. Then, he married Rachel. Though he
that this marriage was
, Rachel had to prove itbefore she was granted children. She had to prove that shewould not antagonize Leah; otherwise, her children wouldbe considered lower class Jews because they came from awoman whom Yaakov was not supposed to have married.Rachel gave Leah the
, enabling her to mar-ry Yaakov in her stead. This one-time act of generosity wasnot enough to prove that the marriage was
. She need-ed to continue her good feelings long enough that Yaakovwould be proven correct. That is why she had to wait.When Rachel asks Leah for the
, Leah re-plies: “you already took my husband, do you want my flow-ers too?” This sounds obnoxious because Rachel gave Leahthe
. Yaakov was supposed to be Rachel’s husband,not Leah’s, but Rachel gave it to Leah. Rav Druk suggeststhat the reason Leah was able to respond this way is thatRachel gave the
over in such a way that Leah didnot even know that Rachel was supposed to marry Yaakov.That is why she thought that Rachel had stolen her husbandby marrying him. Now we realize that there is a dark cloudhanging over this marriage. Rachel could decide to tell Leahthe truth at any moment. Through this episode, though,Rachel proved that she would not do that. Leah accused herof stealing Yaakov, which was the ultimate test to see if Ra-chel would keep her silence. She passed, proving that Yaa-kov’s
was correct, thus making it okay for Rachel tohave children. That is why this episode is an essential prel-ude to the birth of Yosef, because only now do we knowthat Rachel was allowed to marry Yaakov.We now see why Rachel is the one whose cry Ha-shem will listen to. The Avos each had several extraordinar-ily special moments in their lives, such as the
. How-ever, Rachel made a decision to make every day of her lifemuch harder. She never gave in and told Leah. Rather shekept her feelings to herself and let Leah enjoy some peaceand happiness. When Avraham comes to Hashem and triesto invoke the
of the ten tests, Hashem will point outspecific times when he did something extraordinary on be-half of Bnei Yisrael. However, Rachel made an ongoingcommitment to forgo her own comfort on behalf of hersister, and she will demand that Hashem do the same, giv-ing us what we need and ignoring our indifference. Hashemshould listen to Rachel’s pleas soon and restore peace to usand to all of his children.
 Ya’akov and Leah: A Remarkable Rela- Ya’akov and Leah: A Remarkable Rela- Ya’akov and Leah: A Remarkable Rela- Ya’akov and Leah: A Remarkable Rela-tionshiptionshiptionshiptionship
Tá{xÜ Y|Ç~xÄáàx|Ç 
The seemingly sorry state of the relationship be-tween Yaakov and Leah has baffled many throughout theages. Firstly, how could Yaakov, a righteous man, hate hiswife? Making matters even more confusing, the nature of Yaakov’s relationship with Leah seems to be described incontradictory terms in two pesukim. In one passuk(29:30), it says Yaakov, “loved Rachel even more thanLeah”, implying that although he loved Leah, he simplyloved Rachel more. In the following passuk it says that,“Hashem saw that Leah was hated, so he opened herwomb.” Was Leah hated or simply loved less than Rachel?Perhaps it can be suggested that from Yaakov’s perspective,he loved both of his wives, but loved Rachel more. FromLeah’s perspective however, her inferiority in the eyes of 

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