Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Vayeitzei

Means Testing

Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Dayan Yehonoson Hool

November 23, 2023


Whatever You will give me, I shall repeatedly tithe to You.

Bereishis 28:22

The Da’as Zekeinim quotes a Midrash that infers from this pasuk that Yaakov was the first person to give Hashem ma’aser ksafim, a tithe from his earnings. According to Tosfos (Ta’anis 9a, citing the Sifri), ma’aser ksafim is a mitzvah de’Oreisa; according to the Chavos Ya’ir, it is a mitzvah deRabanan; according to the Bach and many others, it is a worthy minhag.

There is a possible ramification of this dispute with regard to testing Hashem. The Gemara (Ta’anis 9a) says that one who gives ma’aser will become wealthy, and it derives from a pasuk in Malachi (3:1) that although one may not generally test Hashem, he may do so by giving ma’aser to see if this promise is fulfilled. The Rama (Y.D. 247:1) codifies this halacha, but the Pis’chei Teshuvah writes that the Gemara is speaking only of the mitzvah to take ma’aser from produce. Others say it applies to ma’aser from income too.

It would seem that the Pis’chei Teshuvah holds that ma’aser ksafim is either deRabanan or a minhag, and that’s why the navi’s promise does not apply to it, because if ma’aser ksafim is de’Oreisa, the promise should apply to it as well. But the Chafetz Chaim (Ahavas Chesed 18) argues that the promise could apply to ma’aser ksafim even if it’s mideRabanan. (The Maharsha, Chasam Sofer, and Aruch Hashulchan concur.) He explains that Malachi lived at the start of Bayis Sheini, when the obligation of trumos uma’asros from produce was only mideRabanan (see Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 331:2), yet he allows using it to test Hashem, so the same should apply to ma’aser ksafim.