Ethics

For the week ending 25 February 2006 / 27 Shevat 5766

Cant Throw Them Away

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I have a batch of clothes and toys that my children have outgrown, but I have a sentimental attachment to them and cannot just throw them away. However I sorely need the space they are occupying. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Almost every family faces the problem of what to do with used clothes, toys, utensils and other household items. You and others in your situation have a wonderful opportunity to help families who cannot afford to purchase these items new. Sometimes you may be aware of a needy recipient, but there is a much more efficient and sensitive way of disposing of your used things for the benefit of others.

In many religious communities in Eretz Yisrael and other countries Gemach centers have been established. These centers receive the items you wish to be rid of and sell them to needy customers for a token sum. Collections made in communities where there are no clients for used things invariably send them to Eretz Yisrael where the need is great.

This system achieves three goals:

  1. It allows the needy customers to receive these items in a dignified fashion without feeling they are charity cases.
  2. The funds received from the sale of these items are applied to helping needy families with cash.
  3. It helps people like you avoid the emotional trauma of throwing away used items you feel attached to.

So go ahead and find out where such a Gemach exists, or create one yourself.

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