Rav Chaim Kanievsky: Deduction from Kollel Stipend Cannot Be Counted as Maaser


rav-chaim-kanievskyThe difficult economic situation which has greatly affected the Olam Hatorah has brought the heads of mosdos haTorah and kollelim to think of creative solutions to ease the heavy financial burden faced in supporting tens of lomdei Torah.

One idea that some have tried to implement is for yungeleit, in certain kollelim, to have 10% taken off of the monthly stipends they receive as a contribution to the kollel. The 10% contribution is taken without asking the yungeleit whether they wish to direct the maaser of their stipends to the kollel.

A grandson of Rav Chaim Kanievsky who was at his zaide‘s home last Friday night asked Rav Chaim regarding this practice and whether the yungeleit are mekayeim their chiyuv of maaser with the 10% that is automatically being deducted from their kollel stipends.

Rav Chaim replied that since the money is taken from the yungeleit before it even reaches their pockets, and especially since they have no ability to challenge the kollel‘s decision, since the money is taken regardless of their consent, it is not considered maaser and the yungeleit are obligated to set aside maaser from the stipend given to them.

Rav Chaim added: “When I was in Kollel Chazon Ish, one of the yungeleit ran a large gemach for the avreichim. After a while, the yungerman established terms for the gemach. He said that anyone who wanted to take a loan from the gemach would have to pledge to donate the maaser to the kollel, which at the time was experiencing major financial difficulties. The Chazon Ish, who heard of the tenai (condition) set by the avreich, forbade this from being instituted, saying that this is bonafide ribbis (interest). From there on, the avreichem received loans from the gemach without any obligation to give the maaser to the kollel.”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Quite a simple cheshbon. Tzedaka is a maaseh mitzvah. How can one be credited with doing a mitzvah that was never performed. Moshe in reprimanding the Jews in the Desert asked, “Hayad Hashem Tiktzor”? What can’t the Aibershter do? Why must we begin to think of Kuntzen to save money, no less on the expense of Kollel Yungerleit who are already being moser nefesh to sit and learn and are not getting paid on time. Mispalerl l’mi sheomar v’haya ha’olam. He is the kol yachol. We have to be mechazek ourselves in Emuna and Hashgachas Hashem while we daven and learn and as a result this who gezeirah will subside.

  2. I should be mentioned that the poskim say a person in dire circumstances is anyways patur from maaser.
    And if such a person has debts, then repayment of his debts takes precedence to giving maaser.

  3. If the kollel really needs the money, then pay the guys 10% less. Don’t claim to pay them a certain amount and then deduct from it.

  4. the whole article is a mistake , i think. A solution i once heard is the following say for example a kolle; guy makes 500 dollars a month. so the kollel would give him around 550 dollars but not really as he would only still be receiving his 500 dollars but now with maaser already being taken. Its a shtick. I hav asked poskim who said its not ok