web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Confused Cell Phone

Business-Halacha-logo

Yossi and Ezra shared an apartment. They had many things in common, which made them good roommates. One thing they shared that sometimes caused problems, though, was identical cell phones.

Yossi was rushing home for Yom Kippur; he had to catch a train. He packed up quickly, stuffed his wallet in his pocket, and headed out. He locked the door and started downstairs.

Before leaving the building, he reached into his pocket to check that he had taken his cell phone. He didn’t find it and realized that he had left it in the apartment. He ran upstairs and grabbed the phone, which was sitting on the table, and headed back down.

On the way to the train, Yossi was confronted by some thugs, armed with knives. “Give us your wallet,” they demanded. Yossi complied.

“Give us your phone also,” they demanded. Yossi gave it to them and they ran off.

Yossi continued on, shaking, to the train. When he got home, he immediately cancelled all his credit cards.

Shortly afterward, he received a phone call from his roommate, Ezra, on the house phone. “You accidentally left your phone in the apartment,” said Ezra. “And I can’t find mine. Did you take it by mistake?”

“You’re kidding!” exclaimed Yossi. “Did I really take your phone?!”

“It seems so,” said Ezra. “Haven’t you tried using the phone since you left?”

“You’ll never believe what happened,” Yossi said. “On the way to the train I got mugged! They took my cell phone; I guess that means yours is gone.”

“Wow! Sorry to hear,” said Ezra. “Are you OK? What else did they take?”

Baruch Hashem I’m OK,” replied Yossi. “Just a bit shaken. They also took my wallet; I had to cancel all the credit cards. Really sorry about your phone.”

“What should I do with your phone?” asked Ezra.

“Use it meanwhile,” said Yossi. “I guess I’ll have to buy you a new one after Yom Tov.”

“It’s not your fault,” said Ezra. “You were mugged.”

“Still, I took your phone without permission, and it’s gone,” said Yossi. “It’s my responsibility, isn’t it?”

“I’m not convinced you’re liable,” said Ezra. “I suggest we raise this with Rabbi Dayan when you return.

After Yom Kippur, Yossi and Ezra met with Rabbi Dayan. “Am I liable for Ezra’s cell phone?” Yossi asked.

“There are a number of factors to consider here,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “A thief is liable for the stolen item, even if subsequently lost through uncontrollable circumstances. Thus, had you knowingly stolen Ezra’s cell phone, you would be liable even if lost later through armed robbery.” (See C.M. 303:3; Nesivos 182:2; Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 4:5[18])

“What difference does it make, then, whether I knowingly stole the phone or by mistake?” asked Yossi. “Either way, I took Ezra’s phone without permission! Doesn’t that make me liable?”

“There is an extensive discussion about this in the achronim,” said Rabbi Dayan, “whether someone who mistakenly stole is considered a thief.”

“I don’t understand,” said Yossi. “Whether someone stole on purpose or by mistake – he has to return the item if it’s not his!”

“Of course; there’s no question about that if the item is intact,” responded Rabbi Dayan. “The question is: Does the person have the liability of a thief when the item cannot be returned, such as in your case?”

“Oh, I understand,” asked Yossi. “So what is the halacha?”

“The Ketzos Hachoshen (25:1) addresses this question explicitly,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “He discusses the case of a judge who mistakenly handed money from the innocent party to the other litigant. He argues that the judge does not carry the liability of a thief if did not intend to steal.”

“But isn’t a person who damages liable whether he did so accidentally or not?” asked Ezra.

“Yes; the Gemara [B.K. 26b] derives from the verse ‘petza tachas petza‘ that even one who injured or damaged unintentionally is liable,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “However, there is no parallel source to impose the absolute liability of a thief on one who stole unintentionally.”

“You mentioned that there was a discussion about this,” noted Ezra. “Do other achronim argue?”

“Other achronim disagree in the case of the judge,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “There, when he mistakenly took the item, he willingly handed it over to another and it cannot be retrieved. They also argue when a person intends to acquire a new item for himself, mistakenly thinking he had permission to do so. However, if the person had no intention of acquiring the item – in other words, he thought it was his already – and it was subsequently lost through uncontrollable circumstances, many exempt him from liability.” (See Nesivos 25:1; Machaneh Efraim, Gezeilah #7)

“Thus,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “Yossi is not liable for the cell phone.”

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Confused Cell Phone”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF patrol along the Gaza border.
Ground Op on Horizon with Emergency Orders to 10,000 IDF Reservists
Latest Judaism Stories
The-Shmuz

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

Business-Halacha-logo

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

An Outcast
‘He Shall Dwell Outside His Tent’
(Moed Katan 7b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

Business-Halacha-logo

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

“Do I have to repay the loan?” he asked. “Does Yosef have to reimburse me? What if doesn’t have that sum, does he owe me in the future?”

When Yoram got home that evening, he went over to Effy: “My day camp is looking for extra supervision for an overnight trip,” he said. “Would you like to come? They’re paying $250 for the trip.”

“I’ll make you a deal,” he said. “If you pay monthly – it’s $4,500; if you pay six months up front – I’ll give it to you for $4,200.”

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

“It is sometimes possible through hataras nedarim, nullification of vows,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “but it’s not simple for charity pledges.

Mr. Haber called Rabbi Dayan. “We sold various household items, including my bicycle, the refrigerator and some professional tools with the expectation of being relocated,” he said. “It turns out we’re staying. Can I annul those sales?”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/confused-cell-phone/2013/09/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: