We have seen the following regarding Scripturally ordained tithing:
- There are two G-d ordered tithes
- One for the Levi'im
- One to be eaten before the Lord or given to widows and orphans
- The first tithe is given to the Levi'im on the first through sixth years of the seven-year Shemittah cycle
- The second tithe is given to widows and orphans in the 3rd and 6th years of the Shemittah cycle
- The tithe is taken from the land... the produce of the field and trees or from flocks and herds
- The tithe is never in the form of currency
- The first tithe is to be taken to the Temple; the second is to be taken to the towns
Scripture informs us that a tithe cannot properly be given while there is no Temple standing and no Levitical priesthood serving in it. However, this does not give us license to be stingy with our finances. Still, G-d paints a clear picture in Scripture that we should care for the widows, orphans, and less fortunate in our communities. There is also no reason why individuals should not contribute monetarily (or otherwise) to their local congregation for the purposes of paying for facilities (maintenance, utilities, etc.), providing income for pastors and other hired help, etc.
It would be senseless to expect a physical fitness center to remain open if no one paid their membership dues. In a similar fashion, we cannot expect our spiritual fitness centers to keep their doors open if no one provides support whether it be in terms of time or money. These contributions, however, cannot and should not be termed a "tithe." They should not be compelled or coerced from individuals by using Scripture taken out of context to imply that the contributions are a tithe and withholding them is a sin against G-d.
May we always live lives reflecting G-d's glory and give according to the abundance He has given to us.