Paying Tuition with Maaser Money

By Rabbi Chaim Chazzan


The cost of out-of-town mesivta is challenging. Can pay tuition with my maaser money?


As explained in previous (issues 217-218) one cannot pay for obligations with maaser money, since tzedakah is supposed to be an added donation.[1]This includes all mitzvos, community taxes and matanos lo’evyonim. Since a father is obligated to teach his son Torah, it would not be permissible to hire a teacher to teach the child. However, other costs, such as food, lodging, rent, maintenance, etc., which is often a significant part of the tuition, can sometimes be paid with maaser.

The obligation of a father to support his child is only until the age of six.[2] After that age, the obligation is a branch of tzedakah (which is enforced by Beis Din). Therefore, some Poskim[3] say that after that age one can use maaser money to pay for the child’s needs.

Others[4] argue that although supporting children older than six is indeed tzedakah, it can nevertheless not come from maaser money which is meant for poor people who don’t have a way to get support. As some put it[5], if one could use maaser money to support his children, then needy families would never receive anything.

The Alter Rebbe[6] permits using maaser money for the expense of room and board for a child in yeshivah. He nevertheless adds that one who uses his personal money will be rewarded and whatever money was spent is not deducted from the amount he was destined to receive that year.[7]


Reprinted with permission from  Lmaan Yishmeu – a project of Mercaz Anash. To see more articles visit

[1] שו”ע יו”ד סימן רמ”ט ס”א

[2] שו”ע אהע”ז סי’ ע”א ס”א

[3] מהר”ם מרוטנבורג תשובה ע”ד הובא בש”ך יו”ד סימן רמ”ט סק”ג

[4] ט”ז יו”ד סימן רמ”ט סק”א

[5] ערוך השולחן יו”ד סימן רמ”ט סעיף ז’

[6] הל’ תלמוד תורה פרק א’ ס”ז

[7] ראה בארוכה שו”ת יחוה דעת ח”ג סימן ע”ו

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