Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Is Supporting the Yated A Mitzvah?

As Rabbi Student pointed out, the European Yated (which includes the online version) is no longer publishing on a weekly basis. It seems fairly obvious from the notice currently on the website (see below) that the problem is financial.

Apparently, according to the folks at the Yated, supporting the Yated is a mitzvah, and one can use Ma'aser money to support them. As it says on their website (bolding mine):

Notice to Our Readers

Boruch Hashem we have managed to make arrangements with all the relevant parties and to receive permission from the relevant authorities to continue. Financing is on a "can afford" basis. We have arrangements in place for the news for a few weeks and we seek donors for other sections. Although it is not tzedokoh in the strict sense, for those who undertook ma'aser kesofim to include general mitzvah expenses, according to the rabbonim they may donate from their ma'aser kesofim.

I'd like to know who the rabbonim are who said that supporting a newspaper can be done with Ma'aser money. I'd also like to know on what grounds supporting the Yated is a mitzvah, especially when there are other right-wing Chareidi publications available.

So, what's the story? Am I being too cynical and there are real grounds to allow Ma'aser money to be used in supporting the Yated? Or is this just a way to get people to part with their Ma'aser money to support a private business venture?

The Wolf

UPDATE: Upon doing a search, I see that Dag posted about this first. My apologies, Dag.

12 comments:

Ezzie said...

Hey, I hear you can use ma'aser money to support bloggers, since they provide a tremendous service. But only if they are blogging from work and not being mevatel torah! (Or something like that.)

DAG said...

No prob wolf :-)

happywithhislot said...

wolf
curious. you seem to be very reasonable blogger. why are you anonymous? is the fact you are, someone almost non contraversial, anonymous, any indication on what is going on in our society, and how narrow minded it has become?

Subway Sally said...

Probably, quothe Ms. Doubly-Anonymous, who isn't even commenting here under her blogger name (because she's commenting from the office, where's she's in the closet as a blogger), much less her real one. If I may be forgiven for answering a question addressed to someone else, I daresay that many of us anonymous bloggers wouldn't be able to say half of what we say if we published under our real names.

BrooklynWolf said...

It's a fair question, happy (and one which I suppose, could be turned around to you as well :) ).

To be honest, I've never been entirely at home with being anonymous. For years I've posted on a message board under my real name (where 99% of the posters use pseudonyms and are anonymous) and had no problems with it. I'm not certain why I decided to start this blog anonymously and, every now and again, I consider going public.

As it is, I am slowly giving up some of my anonymity. I've let a few fellow bloggers, friends and relatives know who I am. I may eventually go fully public. We'll see what the future brings.

The Wolf

The Answer said...

Wolf: remain anonymous or risk the flames of the Konaim in real life, not just online.

Regarding maaser, maybe it is charity: If you can't make your mortgage payment and I pay for you, isn't that charity and I can use maaser for that. So the Yated can't pay their expenses, so I give them money to help. The only differene here is I receive a benefit: the subscription. If you refuse the subscription, then it should be charity in my book.

BrooklynWolf said...

Answer,

Surely you can see the difference between helping a family when they are down and a for-profit business venture...

The Wolf

The Answer said...

Wolf:
There is a difference, in degree. I would help the family first.

Rare Find said...

I'm not entirely certain about the laws of ma'aser, but there are all sorts of leniencies when outside of Israel. I know there are shitos that say you don't have to give ma'aser at all. So techincally, it may not be a problem at all to give ma'aser money to the Yated.

However, I doubt the justification here is purely based on that techincality. They seem to be implying that it is indeed a mitzvah to support the newspaper, which is certainly not true. However, the rabbonim may have used the techincality when they supported this. If they believe this to be a good cause, and ma'aser has such leniencies, they may have decided it was worthwhile to allow the Yated to collect it.

SephardiLady said...

Surely "Answer" can't be serious. The Yated is a business. When a business fails, it is time to change course or close up shop, not put your hand out.

I too would like to know why this is a ma'aser function; it certainly shouldn't be a priority in the least.

(You deserve a link, Wolf). In the meantime, I will file this under the same file as Chai Rotel and going to Uman on the ma'aser train.

Ari Kinsberg said...

wolf:

"Surely you can see the difference between helping a family when they are down and a for-profit business venture..."

i'm not saying i would argue like this, but answer could answer:

a) this business employs people who rely on their salaries (to pay their own morgrages perhaps). so indirectly you are supporting people who would otherwise be unemployed.

b) is not the highest level of charity helping someone succeed in business?

Ari Kinsberg said...

sephardilady:

i've read yated and i don't know anything about the paper, but i guess they would argue they perform an important community service (even as they profit).