Nazarene Space

Jews Do Not Tithe Today

Thankfully, Jewish theologians know better than their Christian counterparts. They are well aware that only Levites have the right to receive tithe of the people. After all, the Jewish leaders have the Old Testament as their Scripture and that’s what it commands. And since there is no Temple in existence (and consequently no ordained Levites or Priests serving in a Temple), then a major factor in fulfilling the laws of tithing does not exist in our modern world.

In regard to this, it may be profitable to relate an event that happened to me over thirty–five years ago when I was just starting to study theology in college. A letter had been given to me for answering. It was from a woman who heard that modern Jews were not tithing. She wanted to know whether the information was true, and if so, why the Jews seemingly violated the plain laws of the Bible which spoke of tithing as a law to be obeyed?

Having read the letter, I began to share her concern. To resolve the matter I telephoned three rabbis in the Los Angeles area for their explanation. Much to my dismay, all three independently of each other informed me that no religious Jew should tithe today. I was startled at their replies. This appeared to be evidence that the Jews were so lax with their biblical interpretation that they were abandoning even the simple words of their own Scripture about the laws of tithing.

By the time I spoke with the last rabbi, my youthful indignation was beginning to emerge. But that rabbi then wisely began to show me my ignorance (not his) in the whole matter. First, he admitted that none of his congregation paid one penny of tithe that was demanded in the Old Testament. He then said: "If any member of my synagogue paid tithe in the scriptural manner, he would be disobeying the law of God—he would be sinning against God."

I was staggered by his answer. He went on to inform me that since the Bible demands that the tithe be paid to Levites, he said it would be wrong to pay it to anyone else. And further, because there is presently no official Levitical order of Priests ministering at a Temple in Jerusalem, this makes it illegal at this period to pay any biblical tithe. He went on to say, however, that the moment a Temple is rebuilt, with its altar in operation and with the priesthood officiating at that altar (and the Levites there to assist them), then every Jew who lives in the tithing zones mentioned in the Bible will be required to tithe according to the biblical commands.

This teaching was a revelation to me (as it may be to some of our readers), but the rabbi gave the proper biblical answers. To pay the biblical tithe at this time, without Levites and Priests in their regular ordained offices and doing service in the Temple, would be "sin" both to the giver and the receiver. The rabbi told me: "If we are to obey the law, we cannot pay tithe unless we pay it to the ones ordained by God to accept that tithe."

The rabbi explained that though he was the chief rabbi of his synagogue, he was not a Levite. He said he was descended from the tribe of Judah and was thereby not eligible to receive tithe. The same disqualification applied even to Christ Jesus while he was on earth since he was also reckoned as having come from the tribe of Judah. This same restriction was applicable to the activities of the apostle Peter (because he was as well from Judah) and it applied to the apostle Paul (because he was from the tribe of Benjamin). Neither Christ nor those apostles were Levites so they were all disqualified from receiving any part of the biblical tithe. It is just that simple. And listen, if Christ, Peter and Paul did not use the biblical tithe for any of their work in the teaching the Gospel, Christian ministers today should not use the biblical tithe either. The Jewish religious authorities are wise enough to read what the Word of God states about the tithe and, thankfully, they abide by it. But our Gentile preachers and priests care very little what the biblical texts actually state and go merrily on their way by devising their own laws of tithing which are different from those of the Bible.

The rabbi then gave me some information on the method that many Jews use today to secure adequate funds with which to operate their religious organizations. He went on to say that the activities of his synagogue were financially supported through the adoption of the "patron system" by its members. That is, families would buy seats in the synagogue for various prices each year. The rabbi mentioned that many of his congregation actually paid more than a tenth of their income to get better seats in the synagogue. This method for raising funds is perfectly proper (from the biblical point of view) if Jews wish to use it. This is because the money is paid to the synagogue and not to an ordained Levitical priesthood.

The final rabbi was correctly interpreting the teaching of the Holy Scripture. While many Christian ministers today teach that Christians may be in danger of missing salvation itself if they do not pay tithe to the church, Jewish rabbis know better than to say such a thing. They realize that it is biblically improper (actually, it is a blatant disobedience to the laws of the Bible) for anyone to pay or to receive the biblical tithe today. And any minister or ecclesiastical leader who uses the biblical tithe (or any one who pays to a minister the biblical tithe) is a sinner in the eyes of God.

Views: 874

Comment by Shawn on September 2, 2009 at 9:27am
Wow I really like this post as well. I understood it the same way for some time now, I want to save this and read it to my family.
Comment by James Trimm on September 2, 2009 at 10:31am
First off saying something in several different blogs will not make it true.

1. The official practice of Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism is to tithe. I have already documented this several times here. Of course that is not our main concern, as our halacha is not always the same as theirs anyway. But since the "Tithe is not for Today" teachers have often claimed Rabbinic Judaism teaches against tithing, or against tithing on cash income, or against tithing to non Levites, all of which is false, I have had to make the point repeatedly that the official practice of Orthodox Rabbinic Judasism is to tithe on cash to charites (not Levites) today.

2. I have posted a two part blog on tithing which disproves all of these points at:

If you would read those blogs they establish that the Mosaic Torah does not say that the Tithe can only be paid to Levites. The Mosaic Torah says that the Tithe belongs to YHWH and was paid to YHWH (Lev. 27:30-34) and the Levites were paid from it (Num. 18:21) these are two separate precepts of Torah and regardless of whether Levites are being paid from the tithe by virtue of Num. 18:21, the tithe still belongs to YHWH by virtue of Lev. 27:30-34.

You should read my two blogs above, and if there is something wrong in them tell me exactly what it is.

They establish the truth from Scripture that:

1. The tithe is paid on "all"
2. The tithe is paid to YHWH and from YHWH it was paid to Levites.
3. Those who "labor in his word" are equally entitled to be paid from the Tithe.
4. When Messiah returns He will confront a group who thought they were Torah observant but had not been tithing.
Comment by Ann Wilson on September 2, 2009 at 10:59pm
James, you stated:

"Those who "labor in his word" are equally entitled to be paid from the Tithe."

Can you show us after the Torah was given by Moses what Torah teacher, other than a priest or Levite,
or a NT text directing a tithe to a "teacher"? That teacher must be like a "High Priest" if other believers who are also called Priests are to tithe to him.
Comment by Ann Wilson on September 2, 2009 at 11:15pm
Maybe I missed it but will you explain how you would determine how much tithe is due if there are two men, who are truck drivers, who earn the same wage, $500.00 per week, but one has only a wife and the other has 10 young children who are not old enough to have jobs.

How much is each man to pay as a tithe of this income? What amount would be the tithe that YHWH would require of each of these men? Please provide your texts.
Comment by James Trimm on September 2, 2009 at 11:29pm
Those elders who conduct themselves well
should be esteemed worthy of double honor,
especially those who labor in the word and
in teaching, For the Scripture says that
`you should not muzzle the ox, while threshing,' (Deut. 25:4)
and `the laborer is worthy of his wage." (Mt. 10:10)
(1Tim. 5:17-18)

Paul also expands on this thought in 1Cor. 9:6-14:

Also, I only, and Bar Nabba, have we not the power not to work?
Who is this who labors in the service (ministry) by the expanse of his nefesh?
Or who is he who plants a vineyard and from its fruit does not eat?
Or who is he who tends the flock and from the milk of his flock does not eat?
Do I say these [things] as a son of man?
Behold, the Torah also said these [things]. For it is written in the Torah of Moshe,
`You shall not muzzle the ox that threshes.' (Deut. 25:4)
It is a concern to Eloah about oxen? But, it is known that because of us he
said [it] and because of us it was written, because it is a need [that] the plowman plow unto hope and he who threshes, unto the hope of the harvest. If we have sown spiritual [things] among you, is it a great [thing] if we reap [things] of the flesh from you? … those who labor [in] the Beit Kodesh [the Temple] are sustained from the Beit Kodesh and those who labor for the alter have a portion with the alter?
So also, our Adon commanded that those who are proclaiming his goodnews should live from his goodnews."
(1Cor. 9:6-14)

You do not understand the tithe. YHWH owns everything in this universe, He is entitled to 100% but in his graciousness he gives us 90% of our increase. He gives everyone 90%. Its a wonderful gift he gives us wouldn't you say, I mean after all he owns all of the earth's resources and our very bodies, so we could not complain if he required 100% yet he gives us 90% and only keeps 10%. Its amazing how ungrateful people can be about being given 90% by Elohim who is entitled not just to 10% but to 100%.
Comment by James Trimm on September 2, 2009 at 11:30pm
BTW in my two part blog I provided texts for all of this.

Don't believe me, believe your Scriptures, believe Elohim!
Comment by Ann Wilson on September 11, 2009 at 1:35am
Here is an interest article from the Jewish Encyclopedia regarding "fees" which discuss the fee a teacher recieves for teaching the Levites - guess what.....they did not recieve a "tithe" for teaching, and it was forbidden for him to recieve paymet for teaching Torah:

"The learned professions were not strictly defined in Talmudic times, and the Rabbis treated the laws pertaining to them under the laws of master and servant. While a learned man need not reject a favor or benefit, he must not demand payment for teaching the Law.

Moses said: "Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments even as the Lord my God commanded me" (Deut. iv. 5).

All must follow the example of God and of Moses and teach without reward.

However, a primary-school teacher may charge for taking care of children, or for instruction in the accents and the division of verses (B. B. 37a). Maimonides allows the customary price for teaching the Scriptures, but not for the common law ("Yad," Talmud Torah, i. 7; compare Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 246). Nevertheless, the student must hire a teacher, even if he can not obtain free tuition, as the Proverbs say: "Buy the truth and sell it not" (xxiii. 23).

R. Zadok said: "Make not the Law thy hoe . . . for whoever derives a benefit of the Law loses his life in the world to come" (Abot iv.).

R. Tarphon, accused of theft and in danger of being thrown into the river, saved himself by revealing his identity; an act which he regretted all his life as an unworthy use of the respect paid to him only as a scholar. Jonathan b. Amram, a disciple of Rabbi Judah, would not make himself known in order to share in Judah's distribution of food to scholars at a time of famine, but begged to be fed like a dog or a crow (B. B. 8a).

In Temple times teachers were appointed to instruct the priests in the details of the service, and they received a stipulated sum from the Temple treasury (Ket. 106a).

"Make not the Torah your hoe" What an interesting insight this quote provides......
Comment by Shawn on September 11, 2009 at 10:14am
James may I ask, is there an approved list of individuals/organizations who are qualified (Laborers in the word), according to Nazarene Judaism, to recieve the tithe? Would say, the Chabad be eligible recipients of someones tithes?
Comment by James Trimm on September 11, 2009 at 12:36pm

This has turned on it's head, I am quoting Yeshua and Paul to show that those who "labor in the word" are eligible to receive tithes, and you are quoting Talmud and Mishna to say they are not.

Lets clarify (I thought I already made this clear):

* Rabbinic Jews today tithe to charities.
* Rabbis in Rabbinic Judaism today (as in the past) are full time and paid for their work. Today this is done through Synagogue membership "dues" and selling tickets to synagogue seats for festivals.
* Some Rabbinic Jews do tithe to Torah teaching organizations, and their is a strong principle that students should financially support their Torah teachers. Rabbinic Judaism maintains that Avraham paid Shem (Melchizadek) the tithe, because Shem had been his Torah teacher.
* The reason we as Nazarenes give our tithe to "those who labor in the word" is based on Nazarene Halacha as given by Messiah and elaborated by Paul as I have cited previously. It is a no-brainer that Rabbinic Jews do not accept these texts and adopt that view.


You need to be a member of Nazarene Space to add comments!

Join Nazarene Space












© 2019   Created by James Trimm.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service