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Maaser during difficult times

Various Rabbis25 Adar 5767
734
Question
We try so hard to give 10% or our earnings, but are now not making ends meet, and can’t afford to buy a house. Ma’aser unfortunately is becoming a burden, along with the other expenses we pay. Is there any point a family is exempt from giving Ma’aser?
Answer
Your own financial security takes precedence over giving Ma'aser. The source for this ruling is the Gemarrah (Baba Metzia 33a) based on the verse "There should be no poor amongst you" (Devarim 15). The Gamarrah learns from this verse that your own financial security comes before that of your fellow Jew - "Shelcha Kodem Leshel Chavercha". However, you should always give at least some Tzedakah and as soon as your financial situation improves you should go back to giving Ma'aser. Rabbi Baruch Paz
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