Maaser is a Hebrew word that refers to the act of giving a tenth of one's earnings or agricultural produce to charity or the less fortunate. Stemming from the root word "asir" meaning "a tenth," maaser is a form of tithing practiced by Jewish individuals who follow the religious obligation of giving back to the community and helping those in need.
In Jewish tradition, maaser is considered a sacred duty and a way of fulfilling one's responsibility to contribute to the welfare of society. It is viewed as a means of expressing gratitude for the blessings received and acknowledging the idea that wealth and possessions are ultimately gifts from God.
The concept of maaser is mentioned numerous times in the Torah, specifically in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is described as a proportionate donation, representing ten percent of one's income or agricultural yield, which is separated and allocated for charitable purposes. The donated amount can be given directly to the poor, to religious institutions, or organizations serving social causes.
The act of giving maaser is believed to have both spiritual and societal benefits. It is seen as a way to foster empathy, humility, and fairness, while also supporting the vulnerable and strengthening social bonds within the community. Overall, maaser represents a commitment to social responsibility, enhancing the well-being of others, and promoting justice and equality.
The word "maaser" has its origins in the Hebrew language. It is derived from the Hebrew root אסר (aser), which means "to separate" or "to set apart". In this context, "maaser" refers specifically to the practice of tithing or giving a tenth of one's income or produce for charitable purposes, as mandated by Jewish religious law.