- Question: [Monday 28th Tishrei 5781]
We are moving homes and downsizing and thus need to get rid of a lot of extra stuff. Over the years we collected hundreds of cassette tapes of Torah classes which we no longer use due to the advancement of society to digital technology. I don’t even know where to buy a tape recorder. I would like to know if I could just throw them out or if they require Geniza.
Cassette tapes do not require Geniza even if they contain Torah classes, and hence may technically be discarded in the garbage. Nonetheless, if the tape contains a label of the Torah class it is proper to remove it prior to throwing into the garbage. Also, I would suggest researching if there are any institutions or gemachim who would be interested in the tapes, rather than throwing them out.
Explanation: Geniza is only required to items that actually contain physical and viewable words of Torah. Digital and film recordings do not consist of letters which can be considered to contain holiness, and the same way it is permitted for a great Torah scholar who contains all the Torah in his memory to go to the bathroom, so too cassette tapes may be discarded.
Sources: See Chelkas Yaakov 3:98; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:173; Minchas Yitzchak 3:102; Halichos Shlomo 2 footnote 34; Beir Moshe 7: 106-62; Shevet Halevi 2:155; Kinyan torah 1:34; Tzitz Eliezer 13:1; Yabia Omer 4:20; 8:26; Mishneh Halachos 5:158; Piskeiy Teshuvos 154:19