Tanya Meditations continues this Monday night 8:15pm
Question of the Week
Is it wrong to re-gift? My uncle came back from Hong Kong with a very expensive tie, green with red zigzags, which he gave me as a gift. I would not be caught dead wearing it. But I have a friend with the same bad taste as my uncle who would love it, and it's his birthday next week. Is there any issue with me passing it on, rather than letting it gather dust in my closet?
You need to think this through. If you re-gift, it might be considered stealing.
A gift is given to be yours. That means you can do with it whatever you wish. If you want to use the tie as a dish rag, sell it on eBay or make it your dog's scarf, no one can stop you.
But a gift is not just a gift, it is a sentiment, a thought, a feeling. Your uncle may have personally picked this tie out for you, thinking you would appreciate it. If he then sees it on your dog or on your friend or on eBay, he may be hurt. It is not the tie you have rejected, it is his thoughtfulness.
Then again, maybe he wouldn't care, or would never find out. Even so, there is an additional concern when you pass on a gift to a friend. You are fooling your friend. When he receives this expensive tie from you, he will feel indebted to you for your generosity. He will feel he must reciprocate when it is your birthday and buy you something of real value. And unless he has an uncle that shares your fine taste, that may cost him.
By re-gifting the tie to your friend, you are scoring unfair points. He thinks you are being gracious by giving him such a valuable gift, when in actual fact you are dumping on him your unwanted merchandise. The Talmud calls this stealing someone's goodwill.
So before re-gifting, ask the following questions: Will anyone be hurt by my actions? Was this gift bought with me in mind, or could it have gone to anyone? Will anyone be misled? You may have good taste in ties, but you don't want to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.