Giving Valuables as Charity

October 9, 2015 | by Rabbi Pinchas Waldman

I recently bought several articles of clothing which it turns out I do not need. I was thinking of donating them to a local Jewish clothing charity. Can I count the donation towards the 10% I give as tithe on my income? I have a similar question with (used) books which I’d like to donate to the library of a local Jewish school.

The Aish Rabbi Replies

Yes, articles of value can be given as charity in lieu of actual money, at their market value. If they are still new and you bought them at an appropriate price, you can count the money you spent for them towards your ma’aser (tithe) calculations. (See Talmud Baba Kama 7a, Talmud Kiddushin 2a, Tosafot s.v. “B’Prutah.”)

In terms of the books, if they contain Torah thoughts, values, ethics, or the like and they will now be freely available to others, you can count their value as well (Taz Y.D. 249:1, Shach 249:3).

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