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15

Obviously, I can't actually speak for the family involved, however, in general, giving any kind of Christian religious symbol to a Jewish family will be considered offensive. The meaning conveyed by the cross for most Jews is very different from the meaning that Christians see in it, and not the least bit positive.


14

Oholei Shem Siman 59 says that it is not proper to give a Mezuza to a non-Jew to place on his door, per the the Maharil, Kneses HaGedola, and Rishon L'Tziyon. However the Sheyilas Yaavetz Chelek 2 Siman 121 seems to say that if the non-Jew will respect it properly then you may give it to him to put on his door. The Igros Moshe Chelek 5 Yorah Deah 2 Siman ...


13

Tevilath Kelim (by R. Zvi Cohen) 8:6 says that you shouldn't immerse it. In the footnote there he cites Mekor Chaim 14, who says that this is because the giver didn't buy the utensil with the intent to use it for food preparation. (CYLOR, of course.)


12

As CharlesKoppelman said in the comments above, it is the custom of some Jewish people to prefer surrounding their children with only pure, kosher images, including those of animals. This is, as he said, not universal, nor even extremely common, AFAIK. I suggest you just ask the parents beforehand. They'll be glad to tell you :D Sources for the scholarly:...


11

I'm not so sure it's as straightforward as follick said. True that Christianity is avodah zarah for us Jews; true also that it is, according to some posekim, also the same for non-Jews. Nevertheless, one of the major leniencies in this regard (alluded to by Shalom in his answer to the related question) is that most non-Jews nowadays aren't אדוק באמונתם, so "...


11

The body of your question differs slightly from the title, so I will focus on that (i.e. why he wasn't worried Pharoah would say the same thing). Here's an answer from this Ohr Somayach Parsha Q&A (see Kasha section), as heard from Rabbi Michael Bachar: Avraham suspected that the king of Sodom would publicize the fact that he enriched Avraham. Pharaoh,...


11

I heard in the name of the Maharal (in Gur Arye, but I haven't had a chance to check it inside,) that Avram understood that the wealth Hashem had promised him would come through natural means, and that he therefore didn't mind taking gifts from people. But Bera's gifts were awarded to him for distasteful acts, so he understood that those could not be the ...


9

"and you may correct me if I'm wrong" You are wrong. No agency is universally accepted. Period. (If you meant to ask for agencies that are widely accepted, just "not by all", then that is an entirely different question, and depends on many factors, most practically geography, as some of the other answers indicate)


9

Aruch HaShulchan 694:2 says that it is clear to him that it does not have to be given directly to the poor man, and can be given through a messenger (Shaliach) on Purim day. Nitei Gavriel Purim 68:6 mentions in the name of the Yad Aharon 694, Chug Eretz 15, and others that if money is given to a messenger (Shaliach) before Purim to give to the poor man on ...


8

The issue is discussed in the נזר התורה journal of Adar 5767, and in responses thereof. Among the sources cited by the author are the following: I. Responsum in Yizchak Burstein's מטעמי יצחק. There, R' Burstein cites Chulin 44b: Whenever R. Zera was sent a gift he would not accept it but whenever he was invited out to dine he would go, for he used ...


8

Most likely inadvisable; may actually depend on the terms and conditions of the company from which you're ordering. Thanks to NJM for pointing to an essay from Rabbi Moshe Dovid Lebovits of Kof-K kosher; in turn citing Rabbi George Lintz, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society volume 24. Rambam, end of Chapter 8 of Laws of Prohibited Foods: ח,טז ...


7

The Lubavitcher Rebbes used to give Chanuka Gelt on the fourth or fifth night. R' Chein explains that there are two reasons why one may want to give on the fifth night: 1. It never falls out on Shabbos, so one can give gelt on a consistent day. 2. On the fifth night there are more candles lit than not lit (which makes it a somewhat auspicious time). ...


7

I don't understand the question. The statement that a person who saves one life, saves the world is an aggadic statement, not a halachic one. Halacha does not allow you to sacrifice one life for the sake of many. If you save a life, that is a great and wonderful thing. If you think you are saving a life, but don't actually do so, it doesn't take away the ...


7

The book Hege Yona (Jerusalem 5756), by my grandfather-in-law Rabbi Yona Munk, includes the following (in my own free translation): 14:23: "or if I take anything from you, lest you say 'I enriched Avram'" The question that arises is why Avraham agreed to take gifts from Par'o and Avimelech, not worrying they'd say they enriched Avram. One can ...


7

A star of David necklace is not a ritual object (just pretty jewelry), and I've never seen anybody take offense at one being given by a non-Jew. This is, in fact, one of the safest Jewish items you can buy; were you to try to select books or ritual objects, you would quickly run into matters of differences in tradition and would risk getting the "wrong" ...


7

There are two things that would contradict your assumptions in your question. 1 - Rashi on Breishit 32:14 cites a Midrash saying that Ya'akov included precious stones and diamonds. 2 - Breishit 36:6-7 states that Esav had a lot of herds / cattle and because he had so much the land was not big enough to hold both his and Ya'akov's cattle, which is one of ...


6

Rabbi Yitzhak Hirschfeld told me that if cash is given in lieu of a specific gift, because it is easier to ship or such, then that money too does not need to have maaser taken. He mentioned his mother wanted to send him furniture, but it was easier to mail a check and a note instructing him to buy furniture with the money.


6

In a town where it is not the practice to donate to non-Jews, it is forbidden to give to a non-Jew, and whoever does so is stealing from Jewish beggars, and he certainly doesn't fulfill his obligation with this. However, in a town where it is the practice, he still gives money to non-Jews (because of darkei shalom, cf. Gittin 61a), although he can't fulfill ...


6

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 658:5) rules explicitly that only if the last person returns the esrog is the first one (and all others) yotzei. Interesting sidebar: The Biur Halacha is in doubt whether they were yotzei only if the last user returned the esrog on his own volition to the original owner or even if the original owner had to demand it back from the ...


5

Isn't it simply that Avraham had not yet received the promises of land and dynasty when he was in Egypt but he had by the time he was in S'dom? The last thing that happened before he went to rescue Lot was that dual promise. Following that, Avraham resolved to receive the good things that were coming to him from Hashem alone.


5

I know the following two Israeli hechsheirim are widely eaten: R' Yehuda Leib Landau's Hechsher The Bedatz Eida Hachareidis. The following Chutz Laaretz Hechsherim are widely eaten: Montreal Va'ad Ha'ir Kedassia This is just a small list. There obviously are many more.


5

The non-junk-food items I've most appreciated getting, and that aren't burdensome to prepare or store, include: Durable fresh fruit: apples, oranges, bananas, etc. Berries and other fragile fruits are nice if you can keep them from getting squished during delivery, but that's more work. Dried fruits: raisins, figs, dates, plums, mango, etc. Raisins can be ...


5

To give an example from the "mimetic," rather than "text-based," world, President Chaim Weitzman famously presented a Sefer Torah to President Harry Truman. (Follow the link--there's a picture of the two of them posing with the Torah!) The Torah Scroll is on display, in the Aron Kodesh which was also part of the gift, in the Truman Library in Independence, ...


5

R Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz (Chazon Ish Shevi'it 5:12) writes that were we to give Maaser Rishon nowadays to Leviyim on the basis that they claim the Levi Aliya in Shul, more people would lie and pretend to be Leviyim because of the financial benefit. However, most authorities seem to think that Maaser Rishon (taken from certain Tevel) should (at least ...


5

The answer, in short, is that it is allowed, and there's no problem of Ribbis. Basically, Ribbis only applies where the money somehow flows from the borrower back to the lender. It does not matter if there's a third-party involved: if that third-party is being sent by the borrower, Ribbis would still apply. In this case, however, the one paying the Ribbis ...


5

See this article by R. Aryeh Lebowitz, discussing the very similar case of purchasing a dish which has been pre-filled with candies to give as a gift, which I think addresses most of your questions. I am going to answer the questions in reverse order, as I think the logic is easier to see this way. If I don't immerse the dish, may the recipient use the ...


5

Number 1 ( Agree to the parents' request and don't give ma'aser ). That's what Rabbi Dovid Feinstein told me. The reason he gave for this was that it is a present with a stipulation. He also said that if the gift is large, there is an assumed stipulation and one need not give. His mashal (example) was a car. I asked what's the smallest large amount one can ...


5

It is indeed a problem to "give" the lulav to a minor for the reasons you have stated. Lending somebody a lulav does indeed mean that they have not performed the mitzvah as they must own it. However as a minor does not perform mitzvot anyway and you only give the lulav to him for practice, you can "lend" him the lulav so he can learn to perform the mitzvah ...


5

Yes, and I'm sure your friend and their kids will much appreciate it! Just use some common sense about it. Don't get them Christmas stuff, or anything from other religions. It's probably worth checking with the parents before giving something to make sure it's something that a) they're ok with b) the kids are interested in. You may also want to look at ...


5

It appears indeed one should keep his promises in the context of a small gift. The Rambam writes (MT Mechira 7:9) (based on the gemara in Baba Metzia 49a) Similarly, if a person promised to give a colleague a gift and failed to do so, he is considered to be faithless. When does the above apply? With regard to a small gift, because the recipient will ...


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