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Can a teachers appreciation gift or Chanukah Gelt for teachers come from Maaser?

If the teachers are in the category that they may receive Tzedaka – as often is the case – then it may be taken from Maaser money. However, if it is an expectation that parents give, then in such a case it is like an obligation and Maaser money should not be used.

Question 2:

What if there is an expectation to join, as all the other parents are giving together, but the one meant to give needs Tzedaka herself?

Answer 2:

Assuming the teacher is in the category of receiving Tzedaka, the question is, is a person who cannot meet their own needs obligated to give Tzedaka? The answer is: if a person cannot support themselves, they are temporarily exempt from Tzedaka and Maaser.

However, the Rebbe suggests that this person should still give some Tzedaka and also keep a memo of how much he ‘owes’ to Maaser, so that one day when he will IY”H be able to pay it, he can do so.

 

Sources:

עיין בשו”ע יו”ד סי’ רמ”ח: “כל אדם מחוייב ליתן צדקה אפי’ עני” כו’ וכותב שם הש”ך ס”ק א’: “היינו כשיש לו פרנסתו בלאו הכי”. ובסי’ רנ”א סעיף ג’ בהגהה: “פרנסת עצמו קודמת לכל אדם ואינו חייב לתת צדקה עד שיהיה לו פרנסתו” אבל עיין באגרות קודש (חלק י”ז ע’ רס”ב, חלק כ”ז ע’ צ”ז, וחלק י”ח ע’ שפ”ג) שכדאי שימשיך להפריש משהו מהמעשר לצדקה והשאר ירשום בפנקסו שזוקף במלוה.