Money Matters: Returning a Party Favour

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Q: Dear Rabbi Simon,

I attended a charity dinner recently and each guest was given a good quality beauty product to take home with them as a gift. What I received was not particularly to my liking or something that I would use. I was wondering if therefore, I would be able to return it to the shop to exchange it for something else? I wasn't sure if there were any implications with this, as it was from a charity event-as it may have been donated and not actually bought? Or does the fact that it was given to me render it now mine to do with as I please? I was thinking there wouldn't be a problem if the shop could re-sell the item?

I look forward to your response.

Many thanks,



A: Dear Miriam,

Thank you for your question.

I do not see a problem with your seeking to return the "party favour" to the shop which provided it (or a shop which happens to stock it), in exchange for an item more to your liking. In my opinion you do not need to say explicitly that you received it as a gift when participating at a charity event, however you may not actively mislead the shopkeeper or employee into believing that you (or someone else) actually purchased it from them, for example. Subject to English law and store policy, it is up to them to exchange the item/merchandise if they so choose. You are doing nothing wrong by simply asking them to do so.

Good luck.

Best wishes

rabbi rashi simon

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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