web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Taxi Standstill

Business-Halacha-logo

Zvi was working in his office in the city. Toward the end of the day his wife called. “Do you remember that we have our cousin’s wedding tonight?” she asked. “You need to get home as fast as you can!”

“Yes, I remember,” Zvi replied. “I’m planning to take a taxi.”

At 5:00 sharp Zvi headed out of the office to the street. He raised his hand and hailed the next available cab. He provided the cabbie his address and was surprised to find that the cab driver was a religious Jew.

“I usually take the train,” Zvi said. “But we have a cousin’s wedding tonight and I have to get home quickly.”

“I’ll try my best,” said the driver, “but it is rush hour.”

After heading crosstown, they finally got on the highway. Traffic was moving slowly, but steadily.

“Looks OK,” said the driver. “Not bad for rush hour.”

No sooner had he said this than the traffic slowed considerably and then came to a complete standstill.

“What’s going on?” Zvi asked the driver.

The driver turned on his radio. “Major accident on the highway,” they heard over the radio. “Traffic is at complete standstill due to intense police activity. Avoid the area and take alternate routes.”

Zvi looked at his watch. “Is there any way to get off the highway?” he asked the driver.

“The next exit is a quarter-mile from here,” said the driver. “But I can’t budge an inch. We’re stuck in a parking lot!”

Meanwhile, the taximeter continued to tick, adding 50 cents every minute. After twenty minutes, they hadn’t progressed at all, and the fare had increased $10. “People all around were getting out of their cars to look and stretch their legs.

Finally, Zvi turned to the driver. “We could be stuck here another half hour, and then we have to deal with all the traffic buildup,” he said. “I’m better taking the train! I’m getting off here. What does the meter read?”

“You’re leaving me stuck in the traffic to lose more time after I’ve already wasted twenty minutes here?” replied the taxi driver. “That’s not fair to me!”

“It’s not my fault there was an accident,” replied Zvi. “I didn’t cause you the loss.”

“But you hired me to take you home,” argued the taxi driver. “You’re leaving me in the middle of the job.”

“The fare is determined by the meter,” reasoned Zvi. “If I end here – that’s it.”

“I attend a business halacha shiur,” said the cab driver. “We learned that if an employer retracts in the middle of a job he owes the worker compensation for the reminder of the job.”

“I’m not sure that applies here,” said Zvi. “But I just installed the new ‘Dial-a-Dayan’ app on my phone. We can ask Rabbi Dayan.”

“Wow!” exclaimed the driver. “I never knew there was such an application.”

“Just kidding,” laughed Zvi. “But I do have Rabbi Dayan’s phone number.”

Zvi called Rabbi Dayan and presented the issue. “Do I owe the driver anything for the remainder of the trip?” he asked.

“There is a difference between a car service driver, who is paid a flat amount for the ride, and a taxi driver, whose fare is determined by the meter,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “In a car service, you have to compensate the driver if you stop in the middle of the ride; in a taxi, you do not.”

“Why should that make a difference?” asked Zvi.

“Once the worker begins a job, he has a commitment to complete it and the owner has a commitment to provide him the salary,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Thus, if the owner retracts in the middle of the job, he still owes the worker compensation for the remainder of the salary. He can deduct a certain amount, though, since the worker now has free time and, in this case, saves on gasoline for the remaining distance. This is called k’poel batel – like an idle worker.” (C.M. 333:2)

“Why is a taxi different then?” asked Zvi.

“For two reasons,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “First, a taxi can usually find another customer who will pay the same fare.”

“This makes sense in routine circumstances, where the taxi driver can pick up new passengers,” said Zvi. “But here the driver is stuck and cannot pick up anyone!”

“Nonetheless, the fare in a taxi is based on distance traveled and time elapsed,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “The exact job and its fare are not predetermined; they depend on the route the cab takes and traffic conditions. The only agreement is that the price should reflect the meter reading; each unit is considered a separate hiring. Thus, even though you initially asked for a trip home, you are entitled to stop anywhere that you wish.” (D’var Chok U’mishpat, p. 245)

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.

2 Responses to “Taxi Standstill”

  1. Trivializing halacha is no better than ignoring it

    re

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    Let me add another factor: Taxi fares take into account the occasional traffic jam which is so bad that one is better off walking the rest of the way to one's destination. Thus, the quick, uneventful ride is counterbalanced by nightmares such as this. On the other hand, a flat rate ride is just that. The only exception would be if the cab broke down, which isn't the case here.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rocket that hit a field in the Eshkol region on July 3, 2015
ISIS-Linked Sinai Terrorists Attempt to Drag Israel Into War With Rocket Fire
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/taxi-standstill/2013/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: