Try the 10% thing

G-d wants us to be generous.

Not only the once-in-a-while generous, give-if-you-are-being-asked kind of thing (that is important, too!)

He wants generosity to become part of our DNA.

That much becomes clear when you learn this week’s Torah portion that contains so many Mitzvot for the farmer.

For example:

If you harvest your field, and an ear of grain falls on the ground – don’t pick it up! Leave it for poor people.

Also, when you harvest your crop, you must leave a nice-size portion unharvested and reserved to poor people.

So if you ever get annoyed by too many beggars on the Subway, think about the Jewish farmer in ancient Israel. He had to do his work while surrounded by poor people who waited for that one ear of grain to fall so they can pick it up…

Why did G-d give us all of those Mitzvot? Because being generous is not only about doing an act. It’s about becoming something. And the more acts of generosity we do, the more it becomes part of who we are.

One of Mitzvot to make us more generous people, is the Mitzvah of Maaser Ksafim – giving 10% of our net earning to charity.

It sounds quite challenging. 10%! In other words, if you earn $50,000, you should give $5,000. If you earn $100,000, you should give $10,000. And if you earn $1,000,000, you should give $100,000.

That’s a lot of money.

But it brings our generosity to a whole new level. It makes us give a lot and give often.

Plus, there is a pretty amazing promise in the Talmud: if you give Maaser, you will become rich!

To be very honest, while I always tried do this Mitzvah, often I’d forget to do it or to make the proper calculation so I can donate the 10%.

Recently, a friend of mine shared with me that he has a bank account which is dedicated to this purpose. And as soon as he deposits a paycheck in the bank, he immediately transfers 10% of the paycheck into his Maaser account.

I loved the idea and implemented it myself. And I can tell you that it just feels so good to hit the transfer button on my banking app.

Did I become rich?

Well, first of all, being rich is not only about having money (you expected that answer, didn’t you?

And second, I do feel G-d’s blessings more than ever.

I would encourage you to try it yourself. Even if you are not ready to take the plunge and actually give 10% to charity, you can still fulfill the Mitzvah. Open a Maaser bank account, or find another way to do it. Just put aside 10%.

Do it for a month, two or three and see what happens. Maybe you will be so blessed in those months and you will feel that this Mitzah becomes doable to you.

And even for people who need the money for their basis necessities: do the Mitzvah. Put the money aside. If then go right ahead and use that money for your basic needs. Still, you will fulfill the Mitzvah.

Giving Maaser will bring you one of the greatest pleasures in life: the pleasure of giving.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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