To Whom Do You Give Your Tithes?

Yonaton Behar,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yonaton Behar
Yonaton is happily married with 6 children, and 9 grandchildren, and lives in the most amazing Torah community in the world - Har Bracha.

In the days of yore when agriculture accounted for about 90% of Israel's GNP (Gross National Product), Jews would give tithes – terumot and ma'aserot – of their yearly produce to the Kohanim (priests), whose job was to teach Torah to Israel, and keep Jews connected to God and His Holy Temple. A person blessed with produce was entitled to give his tithes to any Kohen he deemed appropriate. I was thinking: What was the criterion for choosing which Kohen to give a person's gifts? Question: Would you give a gift of your hard-earned produce to a Kohen who encouraged others not to work, but rather, to sit and learn Torah all day in kollel? Would you happily give your tithes to a Kohen who refused to recite the prayer for the State of Israel or the prayer for the IDF soldiers who protect the Nation and the Land? Or would you give your tithes to a Kohen who himself had dodged the draft? Or perhaps present your tithes to a Kohen who looked down and ridiculed other Jews who were not up to his religious standards? Or maybe to a Kohen who incessantly instructed stringently in matters of halakha? I certainly wouldn't! Then why, I ask, do good Jews around the world still give their hard-earned money to Torah institutions and rabbis who epitomize such Kohanim?  From my perspective, I'm sure the idealistic, committed Religious/Zionist Kohanim must have made out pretty well, whereas others were not so fortunate!

Today, when agriculture accounts for only 3% of the GNP, one's tithes and tzedakah are monetary and not food crops, and the task of teaching Torah and keeping all Jews connected to God and Judaism has been transferred mainly from the Kohanim to rabbis and yeshivas, perhaps the time has come for us to take a new look to whom we give our tithes? Just sayin'.