Rav Chaim Kanievsky: Give Maaser and the Mice Will Go


rav-chaim-kanievskyA man recently approached Rav Chaim Kanievsky with the following dilemma. He explained that his house had been infested with mice, and he had explored every option to get rid of them to no avail. He related that he had engaged expert exterminators to set traps and place poisons, but it had not helped, and the mice kept returning. In fact, the man told Rav Chaim, the situation was so unbearable that he and his family had to move out of their apartment.

Rav Chaim listened to the man’s tale and then asked, “Are you careful about giving maaser (tithes)?”

The man responded that he is scrupulous about giving maaser from all food that is brought into his home.

“Are you also careful about giving maaser kesafim, maaser from the money you or your wife earn?” asked Rav Chaim.

The man answered in the affirmative.

Rav Chaim inquired as to whom the man gives his maaser money. The man said that he uses the maaser money to pay off his debts.

Rav Chaim instructed the man, from then on, to be sure to give his maaser money only to poor people and to no one else. In that merit, he said, his mice problem would go away.

Since he was in such dire financial straits, the man asked Rav Chaim if there was any way he could use his maaser money to pay off monies that he owes. Rav Chaim said that he may do so only if he is exceedingly careful about it and records every single shekel spent, with a plan to pay back the money later on when his financial situation improves.

The man accepted the guidance of Rav Chaim and received his bracha before returning home.

Several weeks later, the man returned to Rav Chaim. He told the gadol that he had followed his advice, keeping strict records of how much money he earned and how much money was maaser, and he had, in fact, given the money to some poor people. Within days, the mice suddenly disappeared from his home. It has now been some weeks later and the mice have not returned.

An interesting twist to this story was when the man asked Rav Chaim whether, according to halacha, he can ask the exterminators for a refund, since they weren’t – and couldn’t be – successful in removing his mice, as there was apparently a reason for their presence unbeknownst to the exterminators?

Rav Chaim said that the natural way to get rid of mice is by giving maaser money to poor people. He said that the man should go to the exterminator and issue an apology for wasting their time and ask forgiveness for the distress he caused them that they were unable to succeed in getting rid of the mice.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. This is a very strange MICE-eh, does anyone know a mekor, If you give MICE-er then your MICE go away? I’m not questioning the validity of the story, it may very well be true. Just wondering…

  2. I heard a simmilar story with R Shayeh krestirer.

    A welath grain merchant had a dillemma cause mice infested storage places.

    R shayeh asked him if he fave mssaser, and the man was able to prove through his bookeeping that he did.

    Once R Shaye was convinced that he had given the required Masser, he ordered the mice to leave.

    The all left in long line.

  3. The second part of the story is more important than the first half. The sensitivity of this gadol is a lesson that we all have to learn.

  4. #12-“give “MICE”er to get rid of the “MICE”. that was easy.”

    Do you for Staples Office Supplies?

  5. This is serious, people, and as one of the commenters mentioned, there is a source for it in the Yerushalmi.

    I have a friend here in Beitar, they had mice in their building and couldn’t get rid of them. One of them went to his rav, and the rav told him to give the message to everyone in the building that they should check if they are being makpid with maaser. Everyone did, the family that was slipping began giving maaser scrupulously immediately and the mice went away.

  6. try this one . i can attest to its accuracy . if you have mice invite the shviger . the shviger comes and they`re gone with out fail;

  7. #3. looked it up. It’s actually on page 3, side two (3:) at first wide line on page. It only discusses maasar on grain and R Chaim was able to extend it to Maasar Kesophim.

  8. Page difference is due to different printing sets of the yerushalmi. The concept remains the same for both of the situations. Nice of you to have taken the time verifying the source.