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  • Family and Society
  • Attitude Towards Other Nations

Halakhic permissibility of a goy receiving Judaica as a gift

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Rabbi David Sperling

Adar I 21, 5774
Question
Shalom, rabbi. Can you advise me regarding the halakhic acceptability of a non-Jew receiving certain items of Judaica (for example, a set of tefillin or a tallis gadol)? If it makes any difference, the individual in question is a righteous gentile. He fulfills the seven Noachian laws and sees the Torah as a great source of inspiration and education; and has no intention of actually using these items until he is converted to Judaism (which he has already begun to plan for in the future). He would be keeping them in storage until their usage would be appropriate. The gift-givers in question would be the Noachide’s mother and father, who are also goyim. Thank you in advance for your time and any light you can shine on this issue.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your interesting question. I must admit that I am unfamiliar with any classic sources that address this issue directly. We do find laws about purchasing tefillin from a non-Jew (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Haim, 39,7), but not about selling them to a non-Jew. The major concern would seem to be bringing the tefillin to a situation where they will be disgraced. It would be forbidden to sell tefillin to a non-Jew who planned to use them for pagan worship, for example. In your question though this is not an issue, as all the non-Jews involved are planning to treat the tefillin with respect. Therefore, I do not see any halachic impediment to the parents buying the tefillin for their non-Jewish son, if all involved are going to guard the teffilin's holiness. It would be appropriate to explain to them about the holiness of the objects, and give them advice about how best to store them (that is inside two wrappings, not on the floor, in a well guarded place etc). Blessings.
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