web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Handing It Over

Business-Halacha-logo

At the conclusion of a morning class, Moshe turned to his classmate Yossi.

“I’m heading to a cousin’s bris and then going shopping,” he said. “Could you take my backpack home with you? I’ve got a new laptop in it. ”

“No problem,” said Yossi, taking the backpack.

During lunch break, Yossi met with some friends in the park. While they were eating, his father called, saying he was stuck with the car and needed help.

“I’ve got to run,” Yossi said to his friends. He turned to Nachman, who lived a few doors away from him. “Someone asked me to watch his backpack, with a laptop inside,” he said. “Can you please take it home? I’ll pick it up in the evening.”

“Sure,” said Nachman. “Give it to me.”

Yossi handed the backpack to Nachman, who put it down next to him.

While the group was sitting there, someone came from behind Nachman. He grabbed the backpack and fled. They jumped up and began to chase him, but the thief hopped on a bicycle and got away.

In the evening, Yossi came to collect the backpack. “I’m sorry, but a thief came and stole it,” Nachman related. “You can ask the rest of the group; they witnessed it with their own eyes.”

“You’re kidding!” exclaimed Yossi. “What am I going to tell Moshe?”

“You were an unpaid guardian [shomer chinam] and so was I,” replied Nachman. “Just say that an unpaid guardian is exempt from theft [C.M. 291:1]. Sorry about the loss, but there’s nothing to do.”

Yossi called Moshe. “Real sorry about the backpack,” he apologized. “I was at the park with some friends. My father needed help with his car, so I entrusted the backpack with one of my friends, Nachman, and it got stolen in broad daylight.”

“It was wrong of you to have given the backpack to Nachman,” Moshe said. “You were negligent. You’ll have to pay for the laptop.”

“How was I negligent?” replied Yossi. “Nachman’s a reliable fellow.”

“Why should I trust Nachman?” asked Moshe. “I barely know him.”

“But there were witnesses there,” said Yossi. “They’ll tell you it was stolen!”

“It’s still your fault,” argued Moshe. “Had you kept the backpack with you, it wouldn’t have been stolen.”

“That doesn’t make me negligent,” replied Yossi. “I entrusted the backpack to someone competent.”

“Well, let’s take it up with Rabbi Dayan,” Moshe said. Yossi agreed.

“I entrusted my backpack with Yossi,” Moshe told rabbi Dayan. “He handed it over to his neighbor Nachman, and it was stolen. Is Yossi liable for the backpack?”

“If there is no evidence to the theft, Yossi is liable,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “However, if there are witnesses to the theft, Yossi is exempt.”

“There is evidence of witnesses here,” said Yossi. “But why couldn’t Nachman swear the backpack was stolen, like other guardians?”

“The Gemara [B.M. 36a-b] discusses the case of a guardian who handed the entrusted item over to another guardian [shomer shemasar l’shomer],” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Rav exempts the initial guardian if the item was stolen, because he gave it to a competent person. However, the ruling is like Rav Yochanan, who obligates the initial guardian.”

“Why is he liable?” asked Moshe. “What is Rav Yochanan’s rationale?”

“This is a dispute between Abaye and Rava,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Abaye explains that a person does not want his item entrusted with a third party. Thus, the initial guardian was inherently negligent in handing it over to another person. Rava, however, explains that although it was wrong to hand the item over to another person, this does not constitute negligence and does not make him liable. Rather, the first guardian is liable because the owner can refuse to believe the oath of the second guardian that the item was stolen, so the concern of actual negligence remains.”

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.

One Response to “Handing It Over”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

Business-Halacha-NEW

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

“Is the invoice signed by the students?” asked the principal. “They said they didn’t get the pizza.”

“The answer depends on the terms of the purchase agreement and local customs,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

“I wasn’t really thinking,” replied Levi. “Things in the backyard usually don’t need watching. I also didn’t expect you to be away so long. One thing is clear, though: I never accepted responsibility for the cake.”

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

“A person who borrowed without a written loan document, even in the presence of witnesses, is believed with a heses – rabbinic – oath to say that he repaid,”

During the course of the year, though, political events in the Persian Gulf caused the cost of gasoline to rise. Prices climbed from $2.50 a gallon to $4.00.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/handing-it-over/2014/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: