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E7. Tithes, Offerings & Tz'dakah    [Make a Comment]

We are to support the Lord's work among men through our tithes, offerings, & charitable giving.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed is He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 30:13-14 (Maimonides RP171; Chinuch C105)
Everyone subject to the census is to pay as an offering to ADONAI half a shekel [one-fifth of an ounce of silver] - by the standard of the sanctuary shekel (a shekel equals twenty gerahs). Everyone over twenty years of age who is subject to the census is to give this offering to ADONAI

Leviticus 27:30-33 (Maimonides RP78, RP128, RN109; Chinuch C360-C361, C473)
All the tenth given from the land, whether from planted seed or fruit from trees, belongs to ADONAI; it is holy to ADONAI. If someone wants to redeem any of his tenth, he must add to it one-fifth. All the tenth from the herd or the flock, whatever passes under the shepherd's crook, the tenth one will be holy to ADONAI. The owner is not to inquire whether the animal is good or bad, and he cannot exchange it; if he does exchange it, both it and the one he substituted for it will be holy; it cannot be redeemed.

Numbers 18:20-32 (Maimonides RP127, RP129; Meir ML12-ML13; Chinuch C395-C396)
ADONAI said to Aharon, "You are not to have any inheritance or portion in their land; I am your portion and inheritance among the people of Isra'el. To the descendants of Levi I have given the entire tenth of the produce collected in Isra'el. It is their inheritance in payment for the service they render in the tent of meeting. From now on, the people of Isra'el are not to approach the tent of meeting, so that they will not bear the consequences of their sin and die. Only the L'vi'im are to perform the service in the tent of meeting, and they will be responsible for whatever they do wrong. This is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations. They are to have no inheritance among the people of Isra'el, because I have given to the L'vi'im as their inheritance the tenths of the produce which the people of Isra'el set aside as a gift for ADONAI. This is why I have said to them that they are to have no inheritance among the people of Isra'el." ADONAI said to Moshe, Tell the L'vi'im, 'When you take from the people of Isra'el the tenth of the produce which I have given you from them as your inheritance, you are to set aside from it a gift for ADONAI, one tenth of the tenth. The gift you set aside will be accounted to you as if it were grain from the threshing-floor and grape juice from the wine vat. In this way you will set aside a gift for ADONAI from all your tenths that you receive from the people of Isra'el, and from these tenths you are to give to Aharon the cohen the gift set aside for ADONAI. From everything given to you, you are to set aside all that is due ADONAI, the best part of it, its holy portion.' Therefore you are to tell them, 'When you set aside from it its best part, it will be accounted to the L'vi'im as if it were grain from the threshing-floor and grape juice from the wine vat. You may eat it anywhere, you and your households; because it is your payment in return for your service in the tent of meeting. Moreover, because you will have set aside from it its best parts, you will not be committing any sin because of it; for you are not to profane the holy things of the people of Isra'el, or you will die.'

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 (Maimonides RP128, RP130; Meir ML14-ML15; Chinuch C473-C474)
Every year you must take one tenth of everything your seed produces in the field, and eat it in the presence of ADONAI your God. In the place where he chooses to have his name live you will eat the tenth of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep, so that you will learn to fear ADONAI your God always. But if the distance is too great for you, so that you are unable to transport it, because the place where ADONAI chooses to put his name is too far away from you; then, when ADONAI your God prospers you, you are to convert it into money, take the money with you, go to the place which ADONAI your God will choose, and exchange the money for anything you want - cattle, sheep, wine, other intoxicating liquor, or anything you please - and you are to eat there in the presence of ADONAI your God, and enjoy yourselves, you and your household. But don't neglect the Levi staying with you, because he has no share or inheritance like yours. At the end of every three years you are to take all the tenths of your produce from that year and store it in your towns. Then the Levi, because he has no share or inheritance like yours, along with the foreigner, the orphan and the widow living in your towns, will come, eat and be satisfied - so that ADONAI your God will bless you in everything your hands produce.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11
If someone among you is needy, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which ADONAI your God is giving you, you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand from giving to your needy brother. No, you must open your hand to him and lend him enough to meet his need and enable him to obtain what he wants. Guard yourself against allowing your heart to entertain the mean-spirited thought that because the seventh year, the year of sh'mittah is at hand, you would be stingy toward your needy brother and not give him anything; for then he may cry out to ADONAI against you, and it will be your sin. Rather, you must give to him; and you are not to be grudging when you give to him. If you do this, ADONAI your God will bless you in all your work, in everything you undertake - for there will always be poor people in the land. That is why I am giving you this order, 'You must open your hand to your poor and needy brother in your land.'

Deuteronomy 16:16-17
Three times a year all your men are to appear in the presence of ADONAI your God in the place which he will choose - at the festival of matzah, at the festival of Shavu'ot and at the festival of Sukkot. They are not to show up before ADONAI empty-handed, but every man is to give what he can, in accordance with the blessing ADONAI your God has given you.

Deuteronomy 18:3-5
The cohanim will have the right to receive from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether ox or sheep, the shoulder, the jowls and the stomach. You will also give him the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep. For ADONAI your God has chosen him from all your tribes to stand and serve in the name of ADONAI, him and his sons forever.

Deuteronomy 26:12-13 (Maimonides RP131; Meir ML17; Chinuch C607)
After you have separated a tenth of the crops yielded in the third year, the year of separating a tenth, and have given it to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, so that they can have enough food to satisfy them while staying with you; you are to say, in the presence of ADONAI your God, 'I have rid my house of the things set aside for God and given them to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, in keeping with every one of the mitzvot you gave me. I haven't disobeyed any of your mitzvot or forgotten them.

Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor ADONAI with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your income. Then your granaries will be filled and your vats overflow with new wine.

Matthew 23:23
Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P'rushim! You pay your tithes of mint, dill and cumin; but you have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah - justice, mercy, trust. These are the things you should have attended to - without neglecting the others!

Luke 12:33
Sell what you own and do tzedakah - make for yourselves purses that don't wear out, riches in heaven that never fail, where no burglar comes near, where no moth destroys.

1 Corinthians 16:1-3
Now, in regard to the collection being made for God's people: you are to do the same as I directed the congregations in Galatia to do. Every week, on Motza'ei-Shabbat, each of you should set some money aside, according to his resources, and save it up; so that when I come I won't have to do fundraising. And when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the people you have approved, and I will send them to carry your gift to Yerushalayim.

Supportive Scriptures - Tithes

Genesis 14:18-20
Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El 'Elyon [God Most High], so he blessed him with these words: "Blessed be Avram by El 'Elyon, maker of heaven of earth. and blessed be El 'Elyon, who handed your enemies over to you." Avram gave him a tenth of everything.

Genesis 28:13-22
Then suddenly ADONAI was standing there next to him [Jacob]; and he said, "I am ADONAI, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz'chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. Look, I am with you. I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into this land, because I won't leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Ya'akov awoke from his sleep and said, "Truly, ADONAI is in this place - and I didn't know it!" Then he became afraid and said, "This place is fearsome! This has to be the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!" Ya'akov got up early in the morning, took the stone he had put under his head, set it up as a standing-stone, poured olive oil on its top and named the place Beit-El [house of God]; but the town had originally been called Luz. Ya'akov took this vow: "If God will be with me and will guard me on this road that I am traveling, giving me bread to eat and clothes to wear, so that I return to my father's house in peace, then ADONAI will be my God; and this stone, which I have set up as a standing-stone, will be God's house; and of everything you give me, I will faithfully return one-tenth to you."

Malachi 3:1-18
Look! I am sending my messenger to clear the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the covenant, in whom you take such delight - look! Here he comes," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like the soapmaker's lye. He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to ADONAI uprightly. Then the offering of Y'hudah and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to ADONAI, as it was in the days of old, as in years gone by. Then I will approach you for judgment; and I will be quick to witness against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers; against those who take advantage of wage-earners, widows and orphans; against those who rob the foreigner of his rights and don't fear me," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. But because I, ADONAI, do not change, you sons of Ya'akov will not be destroyed. Since the days of your forefathers you have turned from my laws and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "But you ask, 'In respect to what are we supposed to return?' Can a person rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How have we robbed you?' In tenths and voluntary contributions. A curse is on you, on your whole nation, because you rob me. Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "See if I won't open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs. For your sakes I will forbid the devourer to destroy the yield from your soil; and your vine will not lose its fruit before harvest-time," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. All nations will call you happy, for you will be a land of delights," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "You have spoken strongly against me," says ADONAI. "Yet you say, 'How have we spoken against you?' By saying, 'There is no point in serving God. What good is it to obey his orders or to walk about as mourners before ADONAI-Tzva'ot? We consider the arrogant happy; also evildoers prosper; they put God to the test; nevertheless, they escape.'" Then those who feared ADONAI spoke together; and ADONAI listened and heard. A record book was written in his presence for those who feared ADONAI and had respect for his name. "They will be mine," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, "on the day when I compose my own special treasure. I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then once again you will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the person who serves God and one that doesn't serve him."

Nehemiah 10:36(35)-40(39)
Every year we will bring the firstfruits of our land and the firstfruits of all fruit from every kind of tree to the house of ADONAI. "We will also bring the firstborn of our sons and of our livestock, as prescribed in the Torah, and the firstborn of our herds and flocks, to the house of our God, to the cohanim ministering in the house of our God. We will bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every kind of tree, wine and olive oil to the cohanim in the storerooms of the house of our God, along with the tenths from our land for the L'vi'im; since they, the L'vi'im, take the tenths in all the cities where we farm. The cohen the descendant of Aharon is to be with the L'vi'im when the L'vi'im take tenths. The L'vi'im will bring the tenth of the tenth to the house of our God, to the storerooms for supplies. For the people of Isra'el and the descendants of Levi are to bring the contribution of grain, wine and olive oil to the rooms where the equipment for the sanctuary, the ministering cohanim, the gatekeepers and the singers are. We will not abandon the house of our God.

Nehemiah 12:43-47
With joy they offered great sacrifices that day, for God had made them celebrate with great joy. The women and children too rejoiced, so that the celebrating in Yerushalayim could be heard far off. At that time, men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for supplies, contributions, firstfruits and tenths, and to gather into them, from the fields belonging to the cities, the portions prescribed by the Torah for the cohanim and L'vi'im. For Y'hudah rejoiced over the cohanim and L'vi'im who took their position carrying out the duties of their God and the duties of purification, as also did the singers and gatekeepers, in accordance with the order of David and of Shlomo his son. For back in the days of David and Asaf, there had been leaders for those singing the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. So in the days of Z'rubavel and in the days of Nechemyah, all Isra'el gave portions to the singers and gatekeepers as required daily. They set aside a portion for the L'vi'im, who, in turn set aside a portion for the descendants of Aharon.

Luke 11:42
But woe to you P'rushim! You pay your tithes of mint and rue and every garden herb, but you ignore justice and the love of God.

Hebrews 7:1-11
This Malki-Tzedek, king of Shalem, a cohen of God Ha'Elyon, met Avraham on his way back from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; also Avraham gave him a tenth of everything. Now first of all, by translation of his name, he is "king of righteousness"; and then he is also king of Shalem, which means "king of peace." There is no record of his father, mother, ancestry, birth or death; rather, like the Son of God, he continues as a cohen for all time. Just think how great he was! Even the Patriarch Avraham gave him a tenth of the choicest spoils. Now the descendants of Levi who became cohanim have a commandment in the Torah to take a tenth of the income of the people, that is, from their own brothers, despite the fact that they too are descended from Avraham. But Malki-Tzedek, even though he was not descended from Levi, took a tenth from Avraham. Also, he blessed Avraham, the man who received God's promises; and it is beyond all dispute that the one who blesses has higher status than the one who receives the blessing. Moreover, in the case of the cohanim, the tenth is received by men who die; while in the case of Malki-Tzedek, it is received by someone who is testified to be still alive. One might go even further and say that Levi, who himself receives tenths, paid a tenth through Avraham; inasmuch as he was still in his ancestor Avraham's body when Malki-Tzedek met him. Therefore, if it had been possible to reach the goal through the system of cohanim derived from Levi (since in connection with it, the people were given the Torah), what need would there have been for another, different kind of cohen, the one spoken of as to be compared with Malki-Tzedek and not to be compared with Aharon?

Supportive Scriptures - Offerings

Genesis 4:1-8
The man had sexual relations with Havah his wife; she conceived, gave birth to Kayin [acquisition] and said, "I have acquired a man from ADONAI." In addition she gave birth to his brother Hevel. Hevel kept sheep, while Kayin worked the soil. In the course of time Kayin brought an offering to ADONAI from the produce of the soil; and Hevel too brought from the firstborn of his sheep, including their fat. ADONAI accepted Hevel and his offering but did not accept Kayin and his offering. Kayin was very angry, and his face fell. ADONAI said to Kayin, "Why are you angry? Why so downcast? If you are doing what is good, shouldn't you hold your head high? And if you don't do what is good, sin is crouching at the door - it wants you, but you can rule over it." Kayin had words with Hevel his brother; then one time, when they were in the field, Kayin turned on Hevel his brother and killed him.

Genesis 28:20-22
Ya'akov took this vow: "If God will be with me and will guard me on this road that I am traveling, giving me bread to eat and clothes to wear, so that I return to my father's house in peace, then ADONAI will be my God; and this stone, which I have set up as a standing-stone, will be God's house; and of everything you give me, I will faithfully return one-tenth to you."

Exodus 25:1-2
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra'el to take up a collection for me - accept a contribution from anyone who wholeheartedly wants to give.

Psalm 50:7-15
Listen, my people, I am speaking: Isra'el, I am testifying against you, I, God, your God. I am not rebuking you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are always before me. I have no need for a bull from your farm or for male goats from your pens; for all forest creatures are mine already, as are the animals on a thousand hills; I know all the birds in the mountains; whatever moves in the fields is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is mine, and everything in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice to God, pay your vows to the Most High, and call on me when you are in trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Proverbs 11:24
Some give freely and still get richer, while others are stingy but grow still poorer.

Matthew 5:23-24
So if you are offering your gift at the Temple altar and you remember there that your brother has something against you, leave your gift where it is by the altar, and go, make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift.

Mark 12:41-44
Then Yeshua sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the crowd as they put money into the offering-boxes. Many rich people put in large sums, but a poor widow came and put in two small coins. He called his talmidim to him and said to them, "Yes! I tell you, this poor widow has put more in the offering-box than all the others making donations. For all of them, out of their wealth, have contributed money they can easily spare; but she, out of her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.

Luke 6:38
Give, and you will receive gifts - the full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing, will be put right in your lap. For the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure back to you!

Luke 21:1-4
Then Yeshua looked up, and as he watched the rich placing their gifts into the Temple offering-boxes, he also saw a poor widow put in two small coins. He said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. For they, out of their wealth, have contributed money they could easily spare; but she, out of her poverty, has given all she had to live on.

2 Corinthians 8:8-15
I am not issuing an order; rather, I am testing the genuineness of your love against the diligence of others. For you know how generous our Lord Yeshua the Messiah was - for your sakes he impoverished himself, even though he was rich, so that he might make you rich by means of his poverty. As I say, in regard to this matter I am only giving an opinion. A year ago you were not only the first to take action but the first to want to do so. Now it would be to your advantage to finish what you started, so that your eagerness in wanting to commence the project may be matched by your eagerness to complete it, as you contribute from what you have. For if the eagerness to give is there, the acceptability of the gift will be measured by what you have, not by what you don't have. It is not that relief for others should cause trouble for you, but that there should be a kind of reciprocity: at present your abundance can help those in need; so that when you are in need, their abundance can help you - thus there is reciprocity. It is as the Tanakh says, "He who gathered much had nothing extra, and he who gathered little had nothing lacking."

2 Corinthians 9:1-7
There is really no need for me to write you about this offering for God's people - I know how eager you are, and I boast about you to the Macedonians. I tell them, "Achaia has been ready since last year," and it was your zeal that stirred up most of them. But now I am sending the brothers so that our boast about you in this regard will not prove hollow, so that you will be ready, as I said you would be. For if some Macedonians were to come with me and find you unprepared, we would be humiliated at having been so confident - to say nothing of how you would feel. So I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go on to you ahead of me and prepare your promised gift in plenty of time; this way it will be ready when I come and will be a genuine gift, not something extracted by pressure. Here's the point: he who plants sparingly also harvests sparingly. Each should give according to what he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Supportive Scriptures - Charitable Giving (Tz'dakah)

Psalm 37:21
The wicked borrows and doesn't repay, but the righteous is generous and gives.

Proverbs 21:13
Whoever stops up his ears at the cry of the poor will himself cry, but not be answered.

Proverbs 31:9
Speak up, judge righteously, defend the cause of the poor and the needy.

Proverbs 31:20
She [a capable wife] reaches out to embrace the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

Matthew 6:1-4
Be careful not to parade your acts of tzedakah in front of people in order to be seen by them! If you do, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you do tzedakah, don't announce it with trumpets to win people's praise, like the hypocrites in the synagogues and on the streets. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already! But you, when you do tzedakah, don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your tzedakah will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what you do in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 25:32-46
All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The 'sheep' he will place at his right hand and the 'goats' at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' The King will say to them, 'Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!' Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, 'Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they too will reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?' And he will answer them, 'Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!' They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.

Acts 11:27-30
During this time, some prophets came down from Yerushalayim to Antioch; and one of them named Agav stood up and through the Spirit predicted that there was going to be a severe famine throughout the Roman Empire. (It took place while Claudius was Emperor.) So the talmidim decided to provide relief to the brothers living in Y'hudah, each according to his means; and they did it, sending their contribution to the elders in the care of Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul.

Acts 20:33-35
I have not wanted for myself anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have provided not only for my own needs, but for the needs of my co-workers as well. In everything I have given you an example of how, by working hard like this, you must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Yeshua himself, 'There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.'

Romans 12:13
Share what you have with God's people, and practice hospitality.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14
Don't you know that those who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrifices offered there? In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.

Philippians 4:15-18
And you Philippians yourselves know that in the early days of my work spreading the Good News, when I left Macedonia, not a single congregation shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving - only you. Indeed, in Thessalonica when I needed it, you sent me aid twice. I am not seeking the gift; rather, I am looking for what will increase the credit balance of your account. I have been more than paid in full: I have been filled, since I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent - they are a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, one that pleases God well.


Tithing first appears in the Bible when Abraham gives one-tenth of the increase of his wealth to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20), and it appears again in Genesis 28:13-22, when God promises Jacob blessing and land, and Jacob, in turn, promises to return ten percent of that which he is given by way of provision back to God. This was not, as some construe it, an attempt on Jacob's part to bargain with God, but rather an expression of Jacob's acceptance of the Covenant that had just been passed on to him, and his acknowledgement that all things with which he would be blessed in fulfillment of that Covenant belonged to God.

The tithe appears again as part of the Mosaic Law, in which the Israelites were commanded to give one-tenth of their increase (usually crops and animals) to sustain the Levites who had no inheritance of land. Offerings over and above tithes, used for other purposes, are also prescribed in the Mosaic Law (certain offerings were required and certain ones were voluntary), but a percentage of income was not required of offerings as it was of tithes. Finally, there was tz'dakah; giving to the poor and to good causes, though not required, was expected and was considered a matter of moral justice and not mere benevolence.

What survives in the New Covenant of these three today is not a requirement of law, but rather the principle of giving to God's work and to those in need. One sometimes hears that tithing to one's church or synagogue is required, and that is not right. One also sometimes hears that tithing to one's church or synagogue today is no longer appropriate, and that is not right either. The reason I can espouse these seemingly contradictory things is that, like many things of the Mosaic Law, certain of its principles find their way into the New Covenant, while the particulars and the enforcement mechanisms of the Mosaic Law do not.

There is no true comparison of our congregational sanctuaries today to that of the Tabernacle and Temple, except that they are (as the Tabernacle and Temple were then) places where the believing community goes periodically to meet God in prayer and worship, mediated through priests and a High Priest. Years ago they were the Levitical priests and Aaron was the High Priest, but now we (the priesthood of believers) are the priests, and Yeshua our Messiah is the High Priest. There is another similarity of "then and now" in that both institutions - the Tabernacle (later the Temple) and the synagogue - have expenses of upkeep. In Mosaic times the expenses included maintaining the Levites, and today it includes mortgage payments on our buildings, and the salaries of clergy and other employees.

Whereas tithes and offerings were prescribed by the Mosaic Law for maintaining the Tabernacle (later the Temple) and its priests, we have no such law today but each institution today (synagogues, apostolic networks, etc.) prescribes the way(s) that its members will maintain it.1 In denominational synagogues, support of the institution is usually through membership fees and charging for High Holy Day seats, and in Christian churches and Messianic Synagogues it is usually through members paying ten percent tithes on their income - a logical adaptation of the Mosaic Law. As for special offerings and tz'dakah, they are as needed today as in the past because membership fees and tithes cannot take care of every need. Messianic communities take up "freewill" offerings to cover such needs, and members of the traditional Jewish community often consider that charitable giving (tz'dakah) of ten percent is their minimum moral obligation.

1. In church history, a justification for enforced tithing by state churches has analogized elders to priests, and shamashim (deacons) to Levites.

Classical Commentators

The mitzvot compiled by Maimonides and Chinuch included the commandments of giving tithes, offerings and tz'dakah, whereas Meir wrote very little on the subjects - a reflection (no doubt) of today's denominational synagogues choosing to not use tithes as their mainstay of support.


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