Maaser refers to a level of attainment that must be achieved during the preparation period prior to entering spirituality. Entering spirituality depends on the development of the desire to attain the qualities of the Creator - the ability to love - to such a degree that it becomes more important than all other desires. How can I reach this level of importance? On my own, it is impossible, but my friends who share this same goal each possess a small amount of this importance as well. The more I connect with those friends so that we each feel the overall importance as our own, the closer I come to the goal. In addition, I need to help discover new friends whose points in the heart are just beginning to light up, because only through our combined level of importance can we reach our spiritual goal.
So where does payment of Maaser (a monthly financial contribution of 10% of income) fit into the picture? Gradually, the importance reaches a level where I am willing to trade whatever I can to obtain the “cure” for this spiritual illness called “egoism.” The cure lies in those points in the heart in the world that are still asleep. Our mutual effort to develop those points through passive means is called "dissemination." I support this effort in two ways: with my time and with my contribution of what is given to me by the Creator (my financial contribution - Maaser).
No one is ever forced to pay Maaser. The online classes, the website, the materials, everything that is available at no charge today will continue to be available whether one pays Maaser or not. But, when I reach this level of importance (or have the desire to reach it and thus try to act as if I already feel it), I begin to perceive the payment of Maaser as a vital necessity for my spiritual life rather than a burden. The will to receive will never agree to it, however, and finds many perfectly valid reasons to object. This is where we have an opportunity for spiritual work, as we rise above what the will to receive tells us and choose to pursue our spiritual goal instead.
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Maaser is the payment of a tenth of one’s total income, which a person set this aside in order to correct oneself and the entire world. Paying Maaser is a spiritual act, unrelated to the payment of taxes or other financial obligations. Maaser is paid against the part of the soul that we are unable to correct. By our own efforts, we are able to correct what is called "the first nine,” and the tenth part, called Malchut, we are unable to correct. We therefore contribute this to the correction of the world through the payment of Maaser. This payment is of the utmost importance – one who does not pay Maaser is detached from spiritual correction. Therefore, throughout the generations, Kabbalists would set aside Maaser.
Maaser funds are directed only towards the correction of the world – the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah to humanity. Maaser funds are used ONLY for this purpose, and not to fund any type of social activities.
The soul of Adam HaRishon is made up of 10 Sefirot. During the breaking of the vessels, this soul broke into tiny pieces that fell into our world. My individual Kli (vessel) is partial, meaning that the Masach (Screen) covers only a portion of my desires in which I am able to receive for the sake of bestowal. These are the first nine Sefirot that we can correct through our own efforts. The desires of the tenth part, the Sefira Malchut, cannot be corrected directly. Instead, I receive the Light for that part and transfer the desire to receive pleasure along with the received Light to an outside Kli. Thereby I prepare it for correction, which will be done by the Light at Gmar Tikkun (Final Correction). Maaser represents the tenth part of Malchut that cannot be corrected. Instead, this part is set this aside and used for the correction of the world.
Our goal is to attain the qualities of the Creator - pure bestowal. For this purpose, we are placed in this world where we see some of our desires internally (“me”) and others as external (everything else around me). A portion of our correction is in our control through our efforts to draw the Light during the study, group activities and dissemination. There is another portion, however, that is not in our power to correct and can only be corrected through the general society. Maaser is dedicated to this latter portion. I seemingly transfer it for external usage, but then it becomes my internality and returns to me with the desires I did not previously consider my own. These desires will be corrected by the Light at the end of correction.
Maaser is paid by students of Kabbalah who understand that paying Maaser is a necessary act for correction. This correction is not only for oneself, but also for the correction of the world. Everyone who receives financial income from any source has a spiritual obligation to pay Maaser, but no one is ever forced to do so. A person who deepens their identification with the goal and method of Kabbalah, however, begins to feel a responsibility (or has the desire to feel it) not just for their own correction, but for the correction of the whole of humanity. Such people, who take the study seriously, begin to perceive the payment of Maaser as vital for spiritual life.
It is customary to pay Maaser at the age of 18 (the age of majority) and when earning some income of their own.
A woman who studies Kabbalah also has a spiritual obligation to pay Maaser, and should set this aside a tenth of her personal income. Shared income can be used to pay Maaser provided that the family agrees to this arrangement. The only case a woman is exempted from this spiritual obligation is when paying Maaser may cause a major disruption in the family.
Maaser is 10% of one’s income, paid each month. Income, including income from any and all sources, is totaled and 10% of that is for Maaser.
It is customary to pay Maaser on gross income; however, within Bnei Baruch it is acceptable and common for Maaser to be paid on net income, meaning net of federal and state income tax.
It is best not to round off the amount of Maaser, but to pay exactly 10%.
Any income received or earned is used in the calculation. This includes: salaries, paychecks, alimony, monetary gifts, financial prizes, unemployment benefits, financial aid, social security payments, pensions, etc.
Any financial inheritance is subject to Maaser. An inherited object, in most cases does not count as income.
There is no difference in the requirement based on the source of income. People with disabilities also pay Maaser.
Every effort should be made to return the money to its owner. If it cannot be returned, then it is subject to Maaser.
No one checks the amount of Maaser payments against your income because it is a spiritual matter. Everyone is responsible for calculating and paying his or her own Maaser.
It is possible to give more than 10%: 10% is Maaser; any amount over the 10% is no longer called Maaser but a donation.
The business’ net revenue (business revenue less the business expenses) should be the basis for calculating Maaser.
The spiritual law is precise: Any person who receives an income must pay Maaser.
No. Maaser must be transferred in full. Bnei Baruch sanctioned dissemination expenses are paid for or reimbursed by the Bnei Baruch organization from the collective Maaser.
The payment of Maaser provides spiritual gain, which is a spiritual correction - the correction of the soul. Actually, the correction does not come from the payment of money, but by your rejection of using it for your own benefit. This correction is against the “still” part of the desire. The correction of the soul is to attain the state of “love thy friend as thyself,” to become connected to others, and through them, build a system of connection to the Creator, which is the bestowing and loving force of Nature. We are used to paying in order to receive, but here the payment is in order to give, to bestow. Maaser is not just a 'tenth part,' but rather, by the payment of Maaser, a person also commits that he will make the other 90% effort required to correct his soul, since one can only make that effort on his own. But against the tenth part, Malchut, which he cannot correct by himself, he gives of what he has earned in this world. Through the payment of Maaser, a person receives spiritual support in order to do the work with the other nine Sefirot of his soul. This is also a way to tell whether you are simply satisfying your curiosity or seriously desiring to participate in your private correction and the general correction of the world.
Yes. Suppose someone gives you $90, but then hands you an additional $10 for your friend. In truth, that $10 is not your money. You may choose to keep it because no one will ever know, but you know it is not yours. In our corporeal world, when we receive payment for our work, we feel that we have earned it – it is ours. This comes from the lack of sensation of what actually occurred. In truth, the whole thing was a gift from Above – “there is none else besides Him.” We are given 90% for our own needs, but 10% belongs to someone else.
A person who belongs to the spiritual nation of Israel can advance without paying Maaser, but only during the initial preparatory stage of development. This is because the role of Israel is to bring the correction to the rest of the nations. All of the pieces of the common soul must be reconnected. As one discovers that these pieces are outside of him and that one’s spiritual advancement depends on reuniting them, the necessity to pay Maaser becomes clear.
The will to receive acts according to “maximum reception, minimum giving,” while the soul functions to the contrary: “maximum giving, minimum receiving.” Hence the reason for the internal war. One never feels a need to pay Maaser. Doing so goes directly against our will to receive and our egoistic desires. The necessity to pay Maaser only occurs when one begins to feel a responsibility for the correction of the world. It is similar to the responsibility one feels for their children. We will spend great amounts of money for toys, food, medical bills and other expenses without a thought, because that is what is best for our children. As long as we do not feel this same type of responsibility to the world, Maaser will be viewed as a burden. Once we begin to feel it in the smallest degree, obstacles will appear: all kinds of reasons why I should not pay Maaser. The spiritual goal is no longer imaginary, but quite tangible. This is where we have the opportunity for spiritual work, where the will to receive sees no benefit in the act.
Maaser is paid monthly at the beginning of the month for the previous month’s income. If a month’s Maaser payment is missed, it can be made up in the following month. If an individual does not have a regular monthly income, Maaser should be paid according to the schedule that income is received.
“By giving Maaser, meaning acting without reason, and saying that Maaser is holiness, thanks to that he has richness somewhere else, meaning he receives from things the aspect (Behina) of Da’at, called richness. Therefore nine aspects would be his, meaning in those nine aspects he is receiving the aspect of Da’at, and the tenth shall be holiness to the Creator, meaning it is all to the Creator, where he has no attainment. Therefore it is called ‘to the Creator.’ And the aspect that the landlord receives, called 'shall be his', is what the landlord may attain. And this is the matter of 'test me in this, says the Lord of Hosts, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it'. That 'this' is called the above aspect of richness. And if you accept that above reason, if he will not bestow upon you all the richness in the world, this is as mentioned above.”Writings of Rabash, 3rd Volume, "The Matter of Miskena" "He should give charity in order to become rich – that by the deed he will reach 'we shall hear', where the deed operates over the intention. That by giving Maaser, in the act of giving, he will aim to get rich, to gain a desire and craving to give, the intention to only give and not receive any reward in return."Writings of Rabash, 3rd Volume, Essay "You Shall Set Aside a Tithe" "And of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."Genesis 28:22 "'You shall set aside a tithe' (Aser Te’aser), and they explained, 'set aside a tithe' (Aser), in order to become rich (Tit’asher). And on the face of it, how did our sages explain the directive in the verse as Lo Lishma (not for the sake of the Creator), meaning that the intention, for which one gave charity, is in order to become rich. And we should say as they said, 'we shall do and we shall hear'. Meaning that by the deed they will attain the aspect of 'we shall hear', where the deed operates over an intention. It follows that the person, while giving the Maaser, meaning in the act of giving, will aim 'in order for you to become rich', that is that he will be rewarded with a will and desire to give, as if the action is giving and not receiving, so he will be rewarded that his thought and his intention will be only to give and not to receive anything in return. And moreover we should say that, 'You shall set aside a tithe (Aser Te’aser)', meaning pay Maaser (Aser) regarding the action, if one performs a deed of giving, then 'you will make rich' (Te’aser), he’ll be rewarded such that the intention will be giving and not receiving. And what will come later is 'in order to become rich', because it is impossible to get the goodness and delight, called richness, from the Creator, before one has equivalence of form. Then, when he merits that the intention will be in order to bestow, then he will be rewarded with receiving the richness, called 'you will become rich'."Writings of Rabash, 3rd Volume, Essay "You Shall Set Aside a Tithe"
Prior to the Exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel were not a free nation that could be corrected; therefore, they weren’t given the obligation of tithing (paying Maaser). After the Exodus, the people of Israel became a spiritual nation and were free in their actions, and immediately the order was given regarding the payment of Maaser, as it is written: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year” (Deuteronomy 14:22).
Moses and Aaron used the funds from Maaser to establish the Temple, which was the people’s educational center, the center of correction.