web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 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.



On A Fling

Business-Halacha-logo

The 11th grade boys were a rambunctious bunch. They were not violent, but boys will be boys, and part of “playing” involved occasional roughhousing.

Today was one of those days. Shimshon was standing in the hallway during recess, talking to a friend, when Dan walked over and jumped on him. After a brief struggle, Shimshon mustered his strength and flung Dan off of him. Dan reeled backward a few steps, off balance, and fell into a ceramic vase that was decorating the hall. The vase teetered; it finally fell with a loud thud and broke.

The noise attracted the attention of the teacher in an adjacent room who hurried out and restored order. The teacher then took the two boys to the principal’s office for a discussion. After addressing the issue of fighting, the principal pointed out that they broke the vase and would have to pay for it.

Shimshon was frustrated. “Why should I have to pay?” he asked the principal. “Dan broke the vase, not me. He fell on it.”

“What do you mean?” replied Dan. “You threw me into the vase. I was totally off balance and could not avoid it. You were the one who broke it!”

“Even so right, it’s still your fault,” argued Shimshon. “You started the fight. I was just protecting myself. It all happened because of you.”

“I’m not saying that the fight wasn’t my fault, but that’s a different issue,” Dan shot back. “As far as the vase – you threw me against it, so you are responsible for breaking it!”

They both looked at the principal, waiting for a resolution.

The principal leaned back in his chair. “Hmm, this is an interesting question,” he said. “You both have valid points, and I’m really not sure who is liable here. I’d like to consult Rabbi Dayan on this; I’ll arrange to meet him tomorrow evening.”

The following evening, the principal, Shimshon and Dan met with Rabbi Dayan. “Dan attacked Shimshon, who flung him back in defense, knocking over a ceramic vase,” said the principal. “Who is liable for the vase?”

“If Shimshon was aware he was flinging Dan into the vase, he alone is liable for the damage,” said Rabbi Dayan. “If he was not aware, though, my opinion – which is debatable – is that the two have to split the damage.”

“This ruling surprises me,” said Shimshon. “Why am I liable? Dan hit the vase and broke it, not me! We learned that a person is liable even for accidental damage.”

“It is true that a person who damages is liable, even if it was accidental and not in his control,” acknowledged Rabbi Dayan. “However, when you fling another person, the second person can be considered like an object in your hand, just as if you had flung a ball or board at the vase. Thus, the damage is primarily attributed to you, whose active force caused the damage, even though you didn’t make the physical contact with the chair.” (See C.M. 378:1; Chiddushei HaGrach, Hil. Yesodei HaTorah 5:1, s.v. veyesh lomar.)

“Then why do I have to pay half if Shimshon was unaware that he was flinging me into the chair?” asked Dan.

“This rationale is most compelling had Shimshon thrown you intentionally or if you were completely not at fault,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Then you can be considered merely a ‘tool’ or object. However, when Shimshon was unaware of the vase, though he played a prominent role in the damage, you are not completely a ‘tool’ in his hand. Moreover, since you began the fight, you were flung by a force that came about through your negligence. This is somewhat similar to a person who stood carelessly at the edge of a roof and was flung off by the wind, who is liable. Therefore, both of you are parties in the damage and have to share the liability.” (See C.M. 378:1-2; 410:34; Pischei Choshen, Nezikin 7:33)

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 “On A Fling”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 1, 2014.
Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk
Latest Judaism Stories

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.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

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.

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?”

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/on-a-fling/2014/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: