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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 27, 2008 / 28 Tishrei 5769

Tax Deductions for Charitable Donations

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: When you give a charitable donation, you get a benefit in the form of a tax deduction. Doesn't this take away the ethical aspect of the donation?


A: First of all let's make a technical clarification to clear up on occasional misconception: a tax deduction only saves an amount of taxes equal to a fraction of the donation. In the US this is equal to your tax bracket, since the donation is deducted from your income; in Israel it is a fixed credit equal to a little over a third. So it definitely costs you money to give charity. One way of looking at this is that the government is your partner in charity; for every two dollars (or shekels) you donate, the government gives one.


This alone would be a praiseworthy act in Jewish tradition, as the Talmud teaches:


Rebbe Elazar stated, "One who causes others to give is greater than one who gives himself, as it is written (Isaiah 32?), 'And the act of charity is peace, and the labor of charity tranquility and security forever'". (1) The inference is the unusual use of the word "act of charity", which can also be read as "the instigator of charity". (Though it may be open to question if channeling government funds in this way is relevant to this passage, because all government funds are in any case directed to public needs.)


What we see from this is that Jewish tradition is very generous when it comes to giving credit for generosity. In the case of Rabbi Elazar, one person gives charity, but two people get credit — the giver, and the instigator. And it's not a fixed sum game; the giver doesn't get less credit because the instigator gets more.


We can bring other examples of this generosity. For example, many people feel that giving is only truly generous if it is anonymous. But this is not the position of the Jewish sages. While anonymous giving is particularly praiseworthy in the case when it shields the recipient from a feeling of shame before the giver (2), in general it is appropriate and even desirable to publicize the donor. (3)


Finally, Jewish tradition doesn't see anything wrong with giving charity in order that the merit should bring a reward, even an earthly one. "It is taught: one who says, this coin is going to charity in order that my children should thrive, and in order that I may merit the World to Come, he is considered perfectly righteous". (4)


Immediately afterward the Talmud explains that this applies only to someone who understands that he is only expressing a prayer to G-d, not someone with an immature conception of G-d who believes he is making a deal — someone who will feel that G-d has "reneged" if he is found unworthy of the blessing he seeks.


The connection between giving charity and attaining personal success is so tight in Jewish tradition that it almost goes beyond a religious principle into an ordinary rule of nature. The consciousness of the benefit of charity is so ingrained that the Talmud tells us that even simple people were careful to separate their tithes as they were convinced this led to prosperity. (5)


So we should be happy for the tax deduction, and grateful when the countries we live in try to encourage the socially productive of charitable giving by providing one. In this way, whenever we give charity we involve all our fellow citizens likewise in our good deed.

SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Basra 9a (2) Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:7 (3) Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:13 (4) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Basra 10b (5) Babylonian Talmud, Taanis 9a .

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.

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