web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Iran Legislative Compromises may Cause Nuclear Explosion in Washington
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

Business-Halacha-logo

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

“The guiding principle regarding work terms is: hakol keminhag hamidina – everything in accordance with the common practice,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

“No, I can’t take more than $65,” protested Mrs. Fleisher. “You may not owe me more than that.”

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

“Do we have to donate again?” some people asked. “Is it fair that we should have to pay twice?”

“This sounds like a question for Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Cohen. He took out his cell phone and called Rabbi Dayan.

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: