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March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
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Handing It Over

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“What is the difference between these two reasons?” asked Nachman.

“There are three differences, situations in which the reliability of the second person is not an issue,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “For example, if the owner commonly entrusts the second guardian with comparable items, he cannot say that he does not trust him; he would have to accept his oath. A second difference is when the initial guardian was also present at the time of the theft; he can swear about the theft to exempt himself. A third difference is our case, where there are witnesses to the event; there is no need here for an oath by the second guardian.”

“The halacha is in accordance with Rava’s rationale,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “Thus, Yossi is exempt from the theft, as any other unpaid guardian [shomer chinam]. despite the fact that he handed the item over to another person.” (C.M. 291:26; Shach 291:47)

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.


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

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“Halacha differentiates between giving a gift, forgoing a debt [mechila], and granting permission to take something,” answered Rabbi Dayan.

“I don’t accept this,” said Mr. Zummer. “I want you to finish! You’re not allowed to just stop in the middle!”

“That’s what you’re wondering?” laughed Mr. Rubin. “That ring is not mine at all. A relative gave me money to buy it for him.”

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

“The issue is not just logistical,” replied Mr. Kahn. “I thought that halacha requires that the beginning of the adjudication and acceptance of testimony be during daytime.” (C.M. 5:2; 28:24)

A few days, Mrs. Feldman called back. “I would prefer a nice cake rather than the chocolate.”

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