From the Rav’s Desk: Geniza to printed papers of Torah that were never studied from or no longer have a use

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 22nd Sivan, 5781]

I printed about 100 pages of a certain Torah file for the sake of distributing during a lecture and I have about 20 extra pages which were not distributed and not used or read from. Must I put it into Geniza, or can I simply throw it into the garbage, as I have heard that so long as no Jew has actually read from the Torah words on the paper, then the paper does not have holiness and can be thrown out regularly.


Printed papers that contain Torah information should be placed into Geniza even if they do not contain Hashem’s name on them [and certainly if they do] and even if no one has yet to study from them.

Explanation: Although in general we rule that all Torah publications are holy and require Geniza, there are two general arguments that have been raised in the Poskim to avoid the need to do Geniza to printed material that was never studied from or that no longer has a use. The first is that perhaps if it is printed by a machine then it does not contain holiness, and the second that perhaps it does not contain holiness until someone learns from it and even after someone learns from it perhaps it loses its holiness once it is no longer used anymore. Practically, this matter is debated amongst the Poskim, with the vast majority of Poskim siding that it does contain holiness and require Geniza even if it is printed material and a Jew has yet to study from it and will never be used to study from in the future. This certainly applies if God’s name is written on the papers in which case even the lenient opinions are stringent.

Sources: See Michaber 154:3 that Tashmishei Kedusha requires Geniza; M”A 154:14 and 334 in name of Masas Binyamin 100 that even if one did not yet learn from the book then it has the status of Tashmishei Kedusha and thus requires Geniza; Taz Y.D. 271:8 regarding printed; Admur 42:6 regarding Hazmanah Milsa Hi; M”B 334:50; Mur Uketzia 154; Noda Beyehuda Tinyana 173; Avnei Nezer Y.D. 376 who is lenient to not require Geniza until a Jew learns from it, although is not lenient by Hashems name; Eiyn Yitzchak 5-7; Meishiv Davar 2:80; Achiezer Y.D. 2:48; Sdei Chemed 2:99; Kaf Hachaim 154:37 and 59; Har Tzevi Y.D. 143; Minchas Yitzchak 1:18; 2:96-97; Chazon Ish Y.D. 162:3 and 164:3;  Igros Moshe 4:39 is lenient to permit placing it in paper recycling if it does not have God’s name; Kinyan Torah 6:91; Tzitz Eliezer 3:1; Shevet Halevi Y.D. 1:143; 5:163; Tzedaka Umishoat 16 footnote 91 and 93;  Ginzei Hakodesh 1:1 footnote 4; 8:6 footnote 18 and p. 254 in responses of Harav Wozner; 8:9; Milum 3; There is proclamation [brought in Ginzei Kodesh ibid p. 311-316] signed by all the Rabbanim of today ruling that they require Geniza, including rabbis: Minchas Yitzchak and other Rabbanim of the Eida;  Rav Elyashiv and the Stiepler and Rav SZ”A; Ovadia Yosef, Meir Mazuz, Mashash, Mordechai Eliyahu and many more; Piskeiy Teshuvos 145 footnote 105; Yalkut Yosef 154:16 footnote 15

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