web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Exercise Caution

Business-Halacha-logo

The bell rang for afternoon break in Mishpat Emes High School. The boys, who had been learning intensely all morning, headed out to the schoolyard for a half-hour break to get some fresh air and stretch their muscles with physical activity.

A few groups formed to play four-on-four half-court basketball games. Some boys jogged around the edges of the yard. Others pulled out mitts and tossed baseballs to each other. And some just stood around talking, enjoying the sunshine and crisp autumn air.

Gabi and Sruli were engrossed in their basketball game. Gabi passed the ball to Sruli but overshot him. At the same time, Eli, who was jogging around the court, darted behind Sruli with a phone in his hand. The ball flew past Sruli and hit Eli, knocking the phone out of his hand. It fell to the ground with a thud. Eli picked it up and saw that the screen had cracked.

“Look what you did!” Eli screamed at Gabi. “You broke my phone!”

“It’s your fault!” Gabi screamed back. “Why did you run there? Didn’t you see that we were playing ball here?”

“Even if you’re playing, you’ve got to be careful not to damage,” said Eli.

The following day, Eli walked in to school. “I took the phone to the repair store,” he said to Gabi. “It will cost 100 dollars to fix the screen. I expect you to cover the repair.”

“I didn’t mean to break the phone; it’s not my responsibility,” said Gabi. “We were just playing basketball, as we always do. The ball went a little off; it was an accident.”

“You don’t think you owe me?” asked Eli, incredulously.

“No,” replied Gabi flatly. “You should have been careful where you ran. You saw that we were playing ball. Balls always get tossed around.”

“Then we’ll have to take it up with Rabbi Dayan,” said Eli curtly. “OK with you?”

“Sure,” said Gabi. “Whatever he says.”

The two boys went to Rabbi Dayan’s office.

“Gabi broke my phone,” said Eli. “I want him to pay for the repair!”

“It’s not my fault,” objected Gabi.

“Let’s hear the story from the beginning, with the relevant details,” Rabb Dayan calmed them. Eli related what happened, with Gabi adding his perspective. “Does Gabi have to pay for the phone?” Eli asked.

“If Eli was standing on the side, even though Gabi damaged it unintentionally, he would be liable for the damage to the phone,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “However, if the boys were already playing in the area and Eli darted into their midst, Gabi would be exempt.”

“Isn’t there any consideration for accidents?” asked Eli.

“There is a clear rule in the Mishnah [B.K. 26a] that a person is liable even for accidental damage,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Admittedly, some authorities curtail this rule and do not apply it to unusual or freak accidents. However, this limitation is not relevant here, since throwing a ball is certainly liable to cause damage.” (C.M. 378:1-3)

“Why, then, is Gabi exempt if I darted into the midst?” asked Eli.

“In this case, since you were aware that the boys were playing ball in the area and ran there, you brought the damage on yourself and Gabi had no way of preventing it,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “The Talmud Yerushalmi [B.K. 2:8] makes a similar distinction regarding a person who damaged or injured during his sleep.”

“Interesting,” commented Gabi. “In what way?”

“If a person went to sleep with another person or items near him, he is liable if he damaged, since he should have considered that he might roll over in his sleep,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “However, if the person went to sleep and afterward someone lay down or put items on the bed near him, the first person is exempt. The other person created the problem, whereas the one who went to sleep had no way to prevent this.” (C.M. 421:4; Pischei Choshen, Nezikin 1:7)

“I would add, though,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “that if the boys were playing in an area where they had no right to be playing, such as in the hallway, and then Eli came, Gabi would still be liable. Since he had a right to walk there and they were the ones who were acting improperly, they have the greater responsibility to exercise caution.” (C.M. 378:7-8)

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 “Exercise Caution”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Judaism Stories
Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

Business-Halacha-logo

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

“The Torah states in Parshat Ki-Teitzei: ‘If you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof. I think it’s your responsibility.”

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

“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.”

“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?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/exercise-caution/2013/10/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: