web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 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.



Guardian’s Oath!

Business-Halacha-logo

“Look at this sefer,” Yoel said to his friend Menashe. “It’s written by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt”l.”

“I’ve seen that sefer,” replied Menashe. “It’s very good. I was thinking of buying it.”

“That’s not all,” added Yoel. “Look inside…”

Menashe opened the sefer. Inside he saw a signed inscription by Rav Eliyahu. “Wow! How did you get an inscribed copy?” he asked.

“I have a relative who was close with the Rav,” answered Yoel. “He gave me this sefer as a gift for my bar mitzvah, and arranged to have it signed.”

“That’s really exciting,” said Menashe, “and a tremendous zechus.”

“If you don’t mind, I have a favor to ask,” said Yoel. “I have a few errands to do on the way home and don’t want to carry the sefer around. Do you mind taking it home? I’ll pick it up this evening.”

“That would be my great pleasure,” answered Menashe. He took the sefer and put it in his knapsack.

Later that evening, Yoel came to pick up his sefer.

“You’ll never believe what happened,” Menashe told Yoel. “On the way home, I stopped off to daven Minchah and Ma’ariv. I left the knapsack next to the coat rack of the shul.”

“So, what happened?” asked Yoel.

“When I finished davening, I put on my coat and reached for the knapsack, but the knapsack was gone!” Some dishonest person must have entered the shul and stolen it!”

“You mean the sefer is gone!” cried out Yoel. “I don’t believe it!”

“That’s what I’m saying,” admitted Menashe sadly.

“How do I know what you’re saying is true?” snapped Yoel. “Maybe you’re making up a story?”

“You don’t trust me?!” asked Menashe.

“Normally, I trust you,” said Yoel. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that this story sounds strange. I also treasure that sefer and am not willing to give it up so easily.”

“I have nothing more to say,” said Menashe. “I left the knapsack in the coatroom of the shul, and it was taken. I’m a shomer chinam [unpaid guardian] on the sefer, so I am not liable for theft.” (C.M. 291:1)

“That’s it?” retorted Yoel. “You just say it was stolen and you’re off the hook?!”

“What more do you want me to do?” asked Menashe. “That I should pay for the sefer? I’m not liable for it.”

“I’m not sure what to do,” said Yoel. “But I don’t think it’s so simple. Let’s ask Rabbi Dayan!”

Yoel and Menashe went to Rabbi Dayan. “I entrusted a specially-inscribed sefer by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu with Menashe, and he claims it was stolen,” said Yoel. “What do we do?”

“This brings us to the third, and final, Torah oath,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “If a guardian claims exemption – e.g., a shomer chinam who claims the entrusted item was stolen – he is required to swear. The sages required the guardian to include three elements in his oath [B.M. 6a; C.M. 295:2; Taz]: He was not negligent but guarded the item properly; the item was lost in the stated manner and is no longer in his possession; he did not misappropriate the item for his personal use beforehand (once the guardian misappropriated the item, he remains liable until he returns it).”

“What if I choose to pay for the item?” asked Menashe. “Certainly if I pay there is no need for any oath!”

“If the guardian will pay for the item, e.g., he admits it was lost through negligence,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “he is not required to swear the regular Torah oath of a guardian but is still required to swear that the item is no longer in his possession, unless the item is a standard one readily available on the market.”

“What difference does that make?” asked Yoel.

“If the item is not readily available,” answered Rabbi Dayan, “we are concerned that the guardian desires the item and is scheming to ‘acquire’ it by admitting guilt and paying for it. Therefore, the Sages imposed an oath that he is not holding the item. If the owner disputes the stated value, the guardian must also include the item’s value in his oath.” (C.M. 295:1)

“If a guardian were to swear, does he need to bring any other proof?” asked Menashe.

“No, but a guardian is believed with an oath only if the event is not a well-known one,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “If the guardian claims the item was stolen in broad daylight in a public place, though, we do not suffice with an oath; he must bring witnesses. Similarly, if he claims there was a large fire, he would have to bring proof, since this is easily ascertainable by witnesses.” (C.M. 294:2-3)

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 “Guardian’s Oath!”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

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

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

Some seforim on a nearby bookcase toppled over and knocked the esrog out of Lev’s hand. It fell to the ground and a piece broke off.

Mr. Fisher contacted Rabbi Dayan. “Am I allowed to use money of ma’aser kesafim to pay the shul for an aliyah that I bought?” he asked.

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?”

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/guardians-oath/2013/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: