Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Yoni. Yoni was a good boy and he was seven years old. Yoni was very excited, because Chanukah just finished and Yoni collected a lot of money, by playing Dreidel and getting Chanukah gelt.
Yoni kept all his coins in a bag Ziploc bag that made a ‘ching-ching’ noise wherever he went. The next day, Yoni’s Daddy took him to the bank to see how much money Yoni collected. Yoni took his big bag and went on his way with his Daddy to the bank. When they got to the bank, Yoni dumped all his coins into the coin machine, and they waited for the paper to come out telling him how much money he had. Yoni was super excited when it said he had $94.67!
Daddy gave him a crisp, clean, new $100 bill and said that ‘This is my Chanukah gift to you!’
Wow, Yoni was thrilled! He never had a $100 bill before!
When they got home, Yoni’s Daddy told him, ‘Oh Yoni, don’t forget that you have to give Ma’aser.’
‘Ma’aser? What is Ma’aser?’ Asked Yoni.
‘Well…’ his Daddy was about to tell him but just then the doorbell rang and Yoni’s father went to answer it. It looked like it was going to be a while, so Yoni decided instead to ask somebody very, very smart who is really, really old. He was going to ask his older brother Reuven who was 11 years old.
'Reuven,' and asked Yoni, 'what is Ma’aser?’
‘Ma’aser’, responded Reuven, 'is when you have to give a percentage of your money to Tzedakah. You have to give 10% to Tzedakah as Hashem tells us in the Torah that this is what we must do.’
‘Oh…’ Said Yoni, ’so how much is 10% of $100?’
‘Well,’ answered Reuven, ‘that is $10 that you have to give to Tzedakah.’
Yoni thought about it, but giving away $10 means he would only be left with $90! Yoni liked the $100 so much more! Well, Yoni decided he would think about it and he didn’t give the Tzedakah right away.
The next day, Yoni was so excited because he kept his hundred dollar bill with him wherever he went.
Every week in school, there was a spelling test. Usually, Yoni would get a 100% on the spelling test but somehow Yoni only got a 90% on the spelling test! Somehow, Yoni got 10% wrong. ‘Hmm..’ thought Yoni, ‘oh well…’.
Then during recess when they were trading baseball cards Yoni lost 10 very good baseball cards! ‘Hmm…’ thought Yoni, ‘oh well…’.
After school, Yoni was waiting for his bus, and it was 10 minutes late! When the bus finally pulled up it was a different bus and the bus number was number 10!
The door opened and there was a substitute bus driver. He said ‘Hello boys, my name is Mr. Schlamazale!’
He said, ’I’m sorry that I’m 10 minutes late. Oh, and I usually hit about 10 bumps along the way.’ ‘Hmm…’ thought Yoni, ‘again with the number 10. Oh well..’.
Mr. Schlamazale was right because the bus was bouncing around everywhere banging this way and banging that way, up and down Yoni went banging against the seat in front at least 10 times!
When Yoni’s stop was finally here and Yoni couldn’t wait to get off the bus. ’Thank you Mr. Schlamazale’, said Yoni as he exited the bus, still holding onto his favorite hundred dollar bill. As Yoni was stepping off the bus, the door closed and ripped off a little bit of the hundred dollar bill!
‘Awwwww!!!’ said Mr. Schlamazale, ‘I’m sooo sorry! It looks like I ripped off 10% from your hundred dollar bill!’ Yoni just looked at his ripped dollar bill and ran home crying.
Later that night there was a knock on Yoni’s door. Yoni’s father opened the door and there was Mr. Schlamazale. ‘I’m so sorry about Yoni’s $100 bill’ Mr. Schlamazale said. Just then, Yoni walked into the room and said, ’No, it’s not your fault Mr. Schlamazale. The reason I got 10% wrong on my spelling test, and lost 10 baseball cards, and the bus came 10 minutes late and I got bounced around 10 times and 10% of my $100 got ripped… is because I never gave Ma’aser like I was supposed to. It’s my fault.’
‘Hmm..’ said Yoni’s father, ‘it’s very important to give Ma’aser right away.’
‘I know that now’ answered Yoni.
Yoni’s father took the ripped $100 bill and gave Yoni a brand new one. ‘Let’s start again’ Yoni’s father said with a twinkle in his eye. Yoni quickly asked his father to give him only $90 and to give the $10 to Tzedakah right away!
It was a few months later, and now it was Yoni’s birthday. Every year, he would get a birthday card in the mail from his Bubby. This year, he opened the card and inside the card was a $50 bill. Right away Yoni ran to his Mommy and said ‘I have to give Ma’aser, quick, what’s 10% of $50?’
From that day on Yoni always gave Ma’aser right away without delay!