Re: Maaser and Kollel Money

Wed, 20 Nov 1996 14:23:19 -0000

In response to:
> Let's say someone is earning money through studying at a Kollel [a
> "graduate school" for married Torah scholars]. Would they still be
> obligated to give maaser [one-tenth to charity] on that money?
> I was wondering, because it's not exactly a job -- it's money given to
> support those who wish to study Torah.

It would appear that most Poskim [authorities] hold that income from Kollel
grants must be Maasered as earned income, see Dinei Momonos Vol 1, page 409
quoting Chikrei Lev YD 102 page 213 and Ruach Chaim 248.1 Gifts and
received is normally subject to Maaser in any case, except possibly where
received in kind rather than cash, in which case it would be subject to the
custom undertaken by the person at the time he started to take Maaser. For
example, inheritance of real estate or wedding gifts.

Nowadays, Kollel students can receive grants even if they are not eligible
for Tzedodoh [charity] as a poor person and that would indicate that it is
earned income.

See also Habayis Hayehudi, Vol 5 pages 261/2 where he provides further
references, including Rabbi E Greenblatt in Shut Rivovos Efraim Vol 4 207.7
quoting the Chazon Ish that Yeshiva students have to take Maaser from
grants received.(see Pe'er Hador Vol4 page 95).

The question as to whether Kollel grants are earnings or gifts is however
relevant with regard to two other situations:

1. Someone who attends a Shabbos Kollel - can he be paid for Shabbos alone
or would that be called Sechar Shabbos [money earned on Shabbos]. If it is a
gift it is no problem, but if earnings he would have to include a weekday
session in his schedule.

2. If a Kollel is late in paying its students due to lack of funds, is it
transgressing the Torah prohibition on paying wages late. (Perhaps a delay in
sending a promised donation by a supporter of the Kollel could involve the
donor in the Issur.) If the grants are gifts this would not apply.

Yakov Schonberg