Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 9 - You Give Maaser, Why Aren't You Rich?

Rabbi Yochanan teaches that fulfilling the mitzvah of ma'aser - tithes - guarantees wealth. He derives this from the passage (Devarim 14:22) asser ta-asser - surely you shall tithe - which he understands to mean asser bishvil she-titasher - separate tithes so that you should become wealthy.

A person once approached Reb Pinchos Koritzer and complained to him that he has given maaser his entire life and he never merited to become wealthy. Why not?

Reb Pinchos responded with a story that occurred in his neighborhood. There lived a wagon driver who possessed many strong horses that would pull his wagon. He provided these horses with all their needs and the horses performed their job admirably.

One day, after he fed and gave his animals to drink, he tied the horses to the wagon and ordered the horses to begin the journey. The horses rebelled against him and refused to budge. The wagon driver began whipping the animals but to no avail. He became furious with the horses until he was beating them senselessly.

A passerby observed the scene and called out to the wagon driver that he is being ruthless and cruel. “Don’t you see what you are doing? Don’t you realize why the wagon is not moving? You have chained the wheels of the wagon to a tree and that is why your faithful horses are not listening to you.”

Reb Pinchos Koritzer explained that the mitzvah of ma'aser - tithes – which guarantees wealth is akin to the strong horses. If one chains the wagon to a tree, the most powerful horses in the world would not move an inch. So too, if one prevents the wheels of the ‘maaser’ from turning by committing other sins and acting immorally, the segula of the maaser cannot take effect and he will never become wealthy.

This explanation is not consistent with the opinion of the Chinuch (424) who explicitly states that the blessing of riches is guaranteed and no sins committed will prevent the blessing from taking affect. The Meiri does state that one can lose out on this guarantee by committing sins.

There are other answers to this question. The Meor Einayim cites the Gemora in Shabbos (25b) that states “Who is a rich person? One who is pleased with his riches.” The Mishna in Avos states that a wealthy person is someone who is happy with his lot. One who fulfills the mitzva of maaser will merit that he will be satisfies with what he has and be happy with it. Chazal say that a person dies without satisfying even half of his desires. Through the mitzva of maaser, one will learn to be satisfies and content with whatever he has. This is the test that Hashem allows the Jewish people to test Him with regard to the mitzvah of ma'aser.

This is the explanation in the statement of the Maharil, cited by the Rama (Y”D 265:11) that the sandek by a bris is akin to the kohen who burned the incense. There is a special segula that he will become wealthy and that is why it has become the custom to have a different sandek for every bris. Wealthy does not mean that he will become rich, rather he will become content and satisfied with whatever he has.


Anonymous said...

Simple answer see Pirkie Avos
meaning who ever gives Masser willbe Zocheh to be Samach Bchelko.

Avromi said...

See the second to last paragraph.

Avromi said...

Also see here where they give nine answers and don't mention yours. I commented there a while ago that sameach b'chelko is also an answer.

Anonymous said...

I cant belive i missed that sorry

Avromi said...


Avromi said...

Reb Ben sent me this.

One never loses when he gives charity. "Aser Teasar" "you shall tithe." Chazal add, "Aser bishul shetisasher" "Tithe so that you shall become wealthy." This is more than a reward or a blessing. It is, rather, a consequence of one's giving. In an anecdotal remark to a community that was not sufficiently giving, the Maggid m'Kelm once said, "Hashem assures us that "Ki'lo yechdal evyon mikerev haaretz", "For destitute people will not cease to exist within the land" (Devorim, 15:11) In other words, there will always be poor people. If we do not see to the needs of the poor, they will unfortunately not survive. Someone will have to replace them. It quite possibly might be you.

Avromi said...

I noticed in the Mishna Berura that one who is careful in washing his hands will guarantee riches, but his bad deeds can cause that not to happen.