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  1. There is a halacha (see Mishle 15, 27 and Shulchan aruch chosen mishpat 249.5) that it is a pious practice not to take gifts (the one who hates gifts will live).
  2. There is also a halacha not to offend people

I see that people get offended when I do not take their gifts,.

How to fulfill both halochos practically?

(Possible idea connected to the subject, I know that the Lubavicher Rebbe would give 1 Dollar for the gifts he would receive (so it is a purchase for a low price and not a gift)
If this is the solution it will not work if the gift itself is money (what to do then?))

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The Shulchan Aruch itself calls rejecting gifts a Midas Chassidus (i.e. not an obligation). If you have a choice between fulfilling something "extra" and fulfilling an obligation, you should definitely do the obligation.

Regarding the prohibition of offending someone, much ink has been spilled regarding the obligations of Chesed and Veahavta Lereiacha Kamocha (although some are of the opinion that it may not be a Biblical transgression of Veahavta Lereiacha Kamocha by passively not acting, per your comment). One such data point would be Sefer Ahavas Chesed by the Chafetz Chaim, Part 3 Chapter 8. That chapter deals with doing Chesed solely through words, and the fourth example given is lifting the spirits of someone who is sad through kind words. I think it would be correct to say that if it's a Mitzvah to raise someone's spirits, it would definitely be forbidden to hurt someone's feelings.

As an aside, looking at the words of the Shulchan Aruch (and commentaries), one could easily argue that the "gifts" it is referring to are gifts that one bases their sustenance and livelihood on (not just a "birthday present" someone gives you). While I would assume that it applies to any freely given gift, I wouldn't be shocked if someone pointed out a Posek saying that it only applies to certain types of gifts.

  • Per @hazoriz's comment. I'll IY"H try to add more details and sources later. – Salmononius2 Aug 17 '16 at 13:46
  • +1 can you ever be Sure that the giver will not be offended? (Is this minhag chasidus just a theory?) – hazoriz Aug 17 '16 at 13:47
  • I would appreciate (maybe except your answer)if you can bring that it is an obligation not to affend someone even when you do it without an action (by not doing something (by not expecting the gift)). (I put it here to make it clearer) – hazoriz Aug 17 '16 at 13:50
  • @hazoriz (first comment) I would guess it's more of an art than a science. If someone comes up to you and says they got you something personal, they spent hours finding a gift that they're sure you'll appreciate it, etc. it would probably be correct to accept it. If you're chilling on the couch with a friend and he's eating a bag of chips and asks if you want some, you could probably safely say "no thanks" without offending him. – Salmononius2 Aug 17 '16 at 15:13
  • @hazoriz As an aside, looking at the words of the Shulchan Aruch (and commentaries), one could easily argue that the "gifts" it is referring to are gifts that one bases their sustenance and livelihood on (not just a "birthday present" someone gives you). While I would assume that it applies to any freely given gift, I wouldn't be shocked if someone pointed out a Posek saying that it only applies to certain types of gifts. – Salmononius2 Aug 17 '16 at 15:24
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When performing Kiddushin, it has to be the man giving the money/something of value woman, not the other way around (Kiddushin 5b). Nevertheless, if the man is an important person, the woman could give the item to him, as he is giving to her the benefit of an important man taking her things (Kiddushin 7a).

This Gemara is often brought up as a proof that one can give by taking. Perhaps you could apply the same principle to your question: it's not called taking unless it's for selfish purposes. If you're taking in order to give, that would be praiseworthy.

This p'shat is brought down as well by the Chidah (quoted in Talelei Oros) to Parshas Bikkurim (Devarim 26:2) regarding the difference between "v'lakachta" and "v'heiveisa" used in the pesukim. It's likewise brought down by Rabbi Mordechai Kaminetzky in respect to the wording in Parshas Terumah - "take for me a portion" - and by Rabbi Yissocher Frand in respect to the repetitious wording of Avraham Avinu in Vayeira - "I will take for you bread...take water...took butter, milk, and cattle...". None of them bring down the aforementioned Gemara in Kiddushin, but it's the same concept.

  • +1 very nice, a source other then yourself would be wonderful – hazoriz Aug 18 '16 at 15:40
  • a chossid (in the gemoro) is an important person, so it is difficult to understand the halacha in choshen mishpat 249.5 the way you explain it, since it also makes it only theoretic and ~never practical (in my poor understanding), (how will you understand it practically?) – hazoriz Aug 18 '16 at 15:48
  • If you see the person will feel offended, take their gift. If they'll understand that it's not a rejection of them, feel free to refuse to take it. – DonielF Aug 18 '16 at 15:56

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