Friday, 27 July 2018

Maaser from Gifts

Question: Does one need to take maaser from presents?
Answer: Tosafos (Taanis 9a) quotes the Sifri (Devarim 14:22) who writes that the mitzva of maaser, tithing one’s crops, applies equally to other forms of income. While this statement isn’t in our editions of Sifri, R’ Baruch Epstein (Torah Temima, Devarim 14:22) explains that this is one of many examples of statements of Sifri that the rishonim saw but are now lost to us.
Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (YD 249:1) writes that one should give between 10% and 20% of one’s earnings to help the poor. The Taz (YD 331:32) adds that this applies equally to wedding gifts that one receives, even from one’s own parents (See Rabbeinu Yona, Sefer Hayira 213).
While this applies to money gifts, R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 5:133:7) writes that if one inherited a property or if one’s parents paid towards buying them a flat, one wouldn’t need to give maaser.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 2:112) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:282) write that one may stipulate when giving a gift that it should be used for a specific purpose. Thus, one supporting their children could stipulate that they shouldn’t give maaser from the money they were giving.
In conclusion, one should give maaser from any money that one earns, including as gifts, unless it was given for a specific purpose.

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