Giving Gifts to Non-Jews

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Source

  1. One is forbidden to give a free gift to a non-Jew.[1]
    1. Some explain that this by all non-Jews except for a ger toshav.[2]
    2. Others explain that this only applies to idolaters[3]
    3. Others explain that this only applied to the seven nations that inhabited the land of Israel in the days of Yehoshua.[4]
  2. The prohibition is not about the act of giving, but the non-Jew benefiting. Therefore, it only applies if the non-Jew receives the benefit.[5]
  3. One is permitted to accept a gift from a non-Jew.[6]
  4. Some prohibit one from donating blood in a country that is mostly non-Jews.[7] Nowadays many permit donating blood.[8]

Exceptions

  1. If you have a relationship with the non-Jew and may receive something in return, one is permitted to give gifts.[9]
  2. It is permitted to give a gift for an ulterior motive.[10]
  3. If you are giving a gift in order to maintain a peaceful environment, it is permissible.[11] Therefore, one may[12]:
    1. Give charity to a non-Jew.
    2. Visit a non-Jew who is ill.
    3. Bury and eulogize non-Jew.
    4. Comfort a non-Jewish mourner.
  4. One may tip a taxi driver, even though you’ll never see him again.[13]
  5. Some allow giving a gift if it is out of compassion for a non-Jew struggling.[14]

Links

  1. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Lo Sechaneim - Gifts and Compliments to Gentiles
  2. Rabbi Chaim Goldberg - Bein Yisroel L'Nochri Siman 28 page 390

Sources

  1. Avoda Zara 20b quoting Devarim 7:2. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 151:11 C.M. 249:2 Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe O.C. 2:51) says this is specifically by non-Jews, but does not apply to irreligious Jews.
  2. Tosfos Avoda Zara 20a s.v. d'amar. Beis Yosef C.M. 249. Shach Y.D. 151:18. Sma C.M. 249:2 explains that a ger toshav is a person who accepts the sheva mitzvos bnei noach and we are therefore obligated to provide for him if he doesn't have and are allowed to give him gifts. However, one who doesn't abide by the sheva mitzvos can only be sold to
  3. Meiri Avoda Zara 20a, Shut HaRashba 1:8, and Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 426. Shut Titz Eliezer 15:47:5
  4. Torah Temimah in Devarim 7:2. Titz Eliezer 15:47 says this is not accepted as it is against the rishonim
  5. Avoda Berura Avoda Zara 20
  6. Yad Rama Bava Batra 6
  7. Rav Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos 4:245) says this would be an issue of giving a free gift and healing non-Jews
  8. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz in a shiur strongly encourages donating blood. He explains that you are donating to a system (just like paying taxes), so there is a reciprocity. It helps when everyone donates and this is similar to the Taz Y.D. 151:8. Additionally, your blood may be going to a Jew and he may need it immediately. Finally, many poskim including Rav Heinkin say that the prohibition only applies to idolaters. Rabbi Lebowitz quoted from Rabbi Mordechai Willig and Rabbi Tzvi Sobolofsky that it is permissible to give blood
  9. Taz Y.D. 151:8. Rosh Avoda Zara 1:19 explains that it is not a free gift, but an exchange, similar to a sale.
  10. Ran (Gittin 38b) uses this rationale to explain how Rabbi Eliezer freed his slave in order to complete a minyan. Although this was a gift to the slave, it is permissible if the givers benefit. Shut HaRashbash 468 says it would be prohibited to give a vessel to a non-Jew as a present on Yom Tov if you forgot to do tevilas keilim.
  11. Shulchan Aruch C.M. 249:2
  12. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 151:12
  13. The Debreciner Rav (Beer Moshe 3:117) explains that if you don’t he (and his friends) will no longer stop and pick up Jews.
  14. Shut Divrei Yatziv 10:43