web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Unlocked Door

Business-Halacha-logo

Mrs. Melamed taught at a nearby high school. One afternoon, at 3:45, she saw another teacher, Mrs. Kohn, rushing out of the building.

“Where are you rushing to?” Mrs. Melamed asked her.

“We’re hosting a sheva berachos tonight for my niece,” Mrs. Kohn replied. “I’m already late! I don’t even have a minute to take my projector to the office. Would you mind keeping it overnight in your office?”

“I’d be happy to keep it, ” replied Mrs. Melamed. “Mazal Tov!” She took the projector to her office, where she had a free hour until 5:00.

Mrs. Melamed was in the middle of grading a paper when she suddenly noticed it was 5:01. “Already!” she jumped up. “I’d better run.” She gathered her books and ran to her classroom. She began teaching and then realized that she had forgotten to lock her office.

“I should have locked the door,” she said to herself, “but I don’t expect any theft.”

After teaching a double-period, Mrs. Melamed returned to her office. She looked at the desk where she had left Mrs. Kohn’s projector, but, to her dismay, it was empty!

Mrs. Melamed looked around the room and saw that her pocketbook had been opened; an envelope with money had been taken.

“I can’t believe it!” Mrs. Melamed cried out. “Of all the days to have this happen! How will I ever face Mrs. Kohn?!”

Mrs. Melamed immediately called her husband. “Mrs. Kohn gave me her projector to watch,” she said. “I ran out of the office to teach and left it unlocked. Someone came into the room and stole the projector and money I was carrying in my pocketbook!”

“This sometimes happens,” her husband soothed her. “I’m not sure you’re liable if people don’t always lock their offices.”

Mrs. Kohn called Mrs. Melamed. “I don’t know what to say,” she began. “I ran out to teach and left my office unlocked. While I was teaching, someone came into my office and stole money from my pocketbook and also your projector.”

“That was an expensive projector,” said Mrs. Kohn. “It cost me $600. You were negligent in leaving the door unlocked.”

“But I often leave my office unlocked,” said Mrs. Melamed. “I’ve left a projector in my office unlocked and never had a theft before. Why should I have to treat your projector better than my own?”

“The fact that you risk leaving your office unlocked doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable,” said Mrs. Kohn. “Almost everyone locks their office; you were negligent.”

“You also once forgot to lock your office overnight!” argued Mrs. Melamed. “What do you want from me if I left the office unlocked while I taught?”

“The fact that I am sometimes careless does not excuse your being negligent,” said Mrs. Kohn. “It’s your tough luck that a thief happened to be roaming the offices now.”

“And what if I had gone down the hall to get a coffee,” asked Mrs. Melamed. “Would you still consider me negligent?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Kohn. “Doors should always be locked!”

“My husband said that he’s not sure I’m liable if people sometimes don’t lock their doors,” said Mrs. Melamed. “He suggested we ask Rabbi Dayan about this.”

“That’s fine with me,” said Mrs. Kohn.

They arranged to meet with Rabbi Dayan. “I asked Mrs. Melamed to watch my projector in her office,” said Mrs. Kohn. “She forgot to lock the door and the projector was stolen. Is she liable for the projector? What if she had gone down the hall for coffee?”

“If it is customary in your school to lock the office doors, Mrs. Melamed is liable for the projector when she left the office unlocked,” ruled Rabbi Dayan. “A person is required to guard his friend’s property in the customary manner. Even if a person is careless with his own property, he may not be careless with his friend’s.” (C.M. 291:14)

“What if it is customary there to leave the doors unlocked?” asked Mrs. Kohn.

“In that case, a shomer chinam [unpaid guardian] would be exempt,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “He is expected to watch in the normal, customary, manner. Similarly, if you had gone out for a short time to get a cup of coffee, when many people leave the office unlocked, you would be exempt. However, a shomer sachar [paid guardian] is still liable. He is paid to provide extra protection.” (C.M. 291:8; 303:10-11)

“What if Mrs. Kohn herself would often leave her door unlocked?” asked Mrs. Melamed. “Can I be expected to watch better than she does?”

“This case is not commonly addressed,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “It seems, though, that a guardian is required to guard according to what is commonly expected. Thus, you cannot exempt yourself by claiming that Mrs. Kohn often leaves her office unlocked.”

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 “Unlocked Door”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Poster for anti-Semitic rally to fight "Jewification" of north London neighborhood of Stamford Hill.
Anti-Semitic Rally Opposing ‘Jewification’ of Britain
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

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

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

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

Business-Halacha-logo

“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.”

He sent out a memo to the tenants: “In light of the recent burglaries, we’ve decided to implement additional security measures, including hiring a doorman for the weekends.”

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

“I do not owe anything,” Mr. Feder replied. “However, if I must come – I will.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/unlocked-door/2014/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: