Can a person throw away old shoes or clothing or any other utensils (items that cannot be reused by others due to them being not reusable)? We find that Moshe Rabenu was not permitted to strike the nile out of hakaras hatov. Can a person donate old clothes to non-Jewish charities that collect these items for reuse. The items may be reused by jews as well. If non-Jews reuse the items is it considered a chessed or tzadakah?

Answer:

It is true that it is proper to show appreciation even to inanimate objects, as we find concerning Moshe Rabbeinu, but this does not mean that worn out and no longer usable items should not be thrown out. The Nile was still the Nile when Moshe had to smite it, but a worn out object has lost its essence, and can be comfortably thrown out.

It is preferable to give old items to a Jewish charity or gemach. If this is not possible, they can and should be given to a non-Jewish charities, in particular if the clothes can reach Jews. It is still considered a chessed if the clothes reach non-Jews.

See Gittin 61a; Yoreh De’ah 251 (one gives charity to non-Jews and Jews together). For the rationale, see Rashi; according to the Rambam, Laws of Kings, end of Chap. 10, the rationale extends beyond ‘darchei shalom’ (ways of peace), and involves emulating the ways of Hashem in being good to all.

Tags: Charity gifts non-Jews

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