From times of old it has been an honored Jewish practice to give maaser, a tenth of our earnings to tzedaka, charity. Yet a great many questions arise when we proceed to fulfill the mitzva. For example: how is income defined? Are capital receipts subject to the obligation of maaser? If they are, how should indivisible assets be dealt with? Is there a specific "tax year"? What expenses are allowed? How is capital investment to be dealt with? How are charities defined, and is there an order of priorities in the matter? To find answers, a research team of the British Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists made a careful study of the Shulchan Aruch and the responsa literature. Where no clear-cut answers could be found, the next step was to turn to the great Torah authorities of our day. This book is a record of the results of their investigations. Time and again the members of the research team were impressed and inspired by the serious, meticulous care with which problems regarding maaser for charity have been discussed throughout the history of the Jewish people. It was both surprising and refreshing to find how halachic principles formulated centuries ago could be applied to questions arising in our time. It is the abiding hope of the research team and the distinguished editor that the inspiration they felt will be shared by their readers and will lead to a wider observance of the compassionate and noble custom of maaser kesafim in the communities of Jewry all over the world.
by Cyril Domb
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