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That said, American Jews, who live in a secular society, have developed the habit of observing occasions such as birthdays with gifts.

Given that reality, we should seek guidelines from the general approaches to human interaction which the Torah mandates: Minimally, we should be modest (tzniut) in our exchanges, not being extravagant and showing off our purchasing power - therefore, even if you are wealthy, showy gifts should be avoided (as should showy clothes, homes, or boastful speech).

Gift-giving can exemplify gemilut chassadim = acts of graciousness or lovingkindness and symbolize and concretize the profoundest depths of relationship, and as such fulfill the central religious obligation to imitate G-d’s ways.

Cain is disappointed in G-d, and jealous of Abel, and the result of course is fratricide.

None of this generates clear mechanical rules for gift-giving.

The Rabbis say that one who seeks to express generosity will have his intentions rewarded by giving him or her the means to express them; may this blessing come to fruition in your life.

Traditionally, for Jews, gift giving is a rather limited affair.

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