Nissan 5765 – Maximum for Tzedakah

4 Nissan 5765
Maximum for Tzedakah

Lichvod HaRav,
I just started a new job and am making a nice salary. I am single and live at home. I do not have to support myself. For the most part, my money is saved for future use, when I will IMY”H need it. I obviously give ma’aser, but because I barely use the money right now, I can afford to give more. My question is, what percentage of my salary is appropriate to give as tzedakah?

Thank you,
Name Witheld


Thank you for your very interesting question.
The Rambam writes (Hilchos Arachin 8:12-13) that a person should not donate more that 20% of his possessions for use in the Bais HaMikdash (Temple). “This is not Chassidus(piety) but rather Shtus (stupidity) because he gives away all of his money and will have to come onto others”. The Chochmas Adam, however, states that this applies only to an average person, but a very wealthy person may give away more than 20%. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatza”l (iggros Moshe Yoreh De’ah Vol. 1 Siman 143) states that a person should not give away more than 20% of their possessions unless it is for a Tzedakah that will save someone’s life, e.g. to pay for medical treatment or Pidyon Sh’vuyim (ransom) for someone.

Generally speaking, a person should give a minimum of 10% of their income and possessions, but not more than 20%, unless there is a pressing need- in which case they would be obligated to give more if it is a situation of Pikuach Nefesh (saving someone’s life), or may give more if they consider themselves wealthy and there is some pressing need.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler