Tithing your money:

How would you like to be a millionaire?

In the Bible, Jacob goes away, fearing the vengefulness of his brother Esau. He vows to God that if everything goes well, then "From all that You give me, I will set aside a tenth for You" (Genesis 28:22). The patriarch Jacob promised a tithe of all his possessions; one tenth of his wealth would be allocated for the service of God. Jacob was following in the footsteps of his forebears. His father Isaac had also tithed his produce and been blessed with abundance, according to the ancient rabbinical interpretation of the verse, "Isaac sowed in that land and found a hundredfold" (Genesis 26:12). And likewise, Jacob’s grandfather Abraham gave tithes: The first instance of tithing that we find in the Bible was  Abraham’s gift to Malchizedek – a tenth of all the property of Sodom which he had recaptured in his war with the Four Kings (Genesis 14:20). In our times, the practice of tithing is generally carried out by giving to the poor or to other charitable causes

According to both Jewish and Christian tradition, no one loses by tithing their money. In fact, the practice of giving one-tenth of one’s income to charity actually makes a person get richer.

The Jewish Sages, based on hermeneutical analysis of the relevant verses in the Bible, say that tithing of money is the one area in which we are even permitted to “test” God. In other words, try giving away a tenth of your income to charity on a regular basis, and see if you don’t prosper as a result!

According to the famous Gaon of Vilna, giving a tenth to charity is a guarantee that you will not be poor. The Gaon goes further, and says that if you want to get wealthy, rather than just have all you need, you must give twice that amount – 20% of your income – to charitable causes. This interpretation is based on the verse “You must be sure to set aside a tenth of all the produce of your fields each year” (Deuteronomy 14:22). In the original Hebrew, this verse begins with the words “Asor taaser,” which would be translated literally as “Tithe, you must tithe.” From this repetition of the word meaning “to tithe,” the Gaon of Vilna infers that double tithing – giving 20% - brings the blessing of wealth.

In the New Testament, we find that Jesus upheld the principle of tithing, even while he criticized some of his fellow Jews for being meticulous about the details of tithing and forgetting the spirit of the law: “justice and mercy and faith” (see Matthew 23:23).

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