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QUESTION

New York, NY

בעניין גניבת דעת: is it a problem to give someone a gift that you received from someone else and you don’t want without disclosing that it is a re-gift? I don’t think this is an issue but a congregant said that her Rabbi said that it is.

ANSWER

Well, genveivat da’at is when you do something so someone feels underserved gratitude towards you – like you invite them to a wedding when you know they can’t make it. I assume the pesak here that it is a problem is if someone feels that a present means you went out of your way to get something specifically for them (“it’s the thought that counts”). But I can’t see that as a problem, in all honesty: if the present isn’t too tailored to the person and his/her likes, then they won’t feel that, and we all know that people will sometimes have a store of presents to give out (e.g., I have a bunch of nice challah covers). If it is tailored, then the fact that you are regifting to this person and not someone else means that you did have them specifically in mind.