Ethics

For the week ending 2 December 2006 / 11 Kislev 5767

When to Deliver Old Clothes

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I have some old clothes that I would like to contribute to a Gemach in my community which sorts used clothes, and allows needy families an opportunity to purchase usable items at a token price. The collection area happens to be the front yard of my neighbor, and I have the impression that there are times when my deliveries are not welcome. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: It is obvious from your question that your neighbor does not post any sign limiting hours for delivery because your neighbor relies on your sense of when it is inconsiderate to bring your things.

As a general rule, a collection area adjoining a private home should be out of bounds for deliveries on Friday because the family living in the home uses that day to put things in order in honor of Shabbat. Three weeks before Pesach when people clean their homes and discover so many things they wish to give away is also a time when the family members putting their yard at your disposal are also cleaning their homes and do not welcome the extra burden of old clothes. The same is true of the two weeks before Succot when the yard is being preparing as a Succah area.

In conclusion, do as many considerate people do and call the family to determine if it is the right time for a delivery.

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