web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 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.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Book Money

Business-Halacha-logo

Nachum was doing a research project on the Rambam for one of his courses. He borrowed a number of sefarim from his yeshiva’s library for a month while writing the paper. When he completed the assignment, he gathered the sefarim together to return them to the library, but noticed that one sefer was missing.

“Where could it be?” Nachum asked himself. He looked high and low, but nowhere was the sefer to be found. He asked his family whether they had seen the sefer anywhere, but no one had seen it.

Finally, Nachum gave up looking for the book. He brought the other sefarim back to the library. “I’m returning the sefarim I borrowed a month ago,” he said to the librarian. “I seem to have lost one sefer, though.”

“Which one was lost?” asked the librarian. “You’ll have to pay for it.”

“It was a new, precise edition of the Yad Hachazakah,” replied Nachum. “How much does it cost?”

“That sefer runs about 50 dollars,” said the librarian. “It was a bit expensive.”

Nachum thought for a moment. “I can get an almost brand new copy,” he said. “I have a relative who mentioned he has a spare copy and once offered it to me.”

“Actually, we have two other copies of that sefer,” said the librarian. “We don’t really need a third copy of that particular edition and would like the cash.”

“But why should I do that?” replied Nachum. “I can get the book for free from my relative!”

“When you lost the book, you became obligated to pay for it,” the librarian stated. “You owe us money, and can’t give a book instead of payment.”

“Why do I owe you money?” argued Nachum. “I borrowed a sefer. Had I not lost it, I would have simply returned it. What’s the difference whether I return it or a comparable copy?”

“If you were returning the original, fine!” insisted the librarian. “However, now that you lost it you need to pay, and we’ll do with the money as we see fit!”

“That doesn’t seem logical,” responded Nachum. “I’d like to discuss the case with Rabbi Dayan!”

“Fine with me,” said the librarian. “Let’s go!”

The two went to Rabbi Dayan. “I borrowed a special edition of Yad Hachazakah from the library and lost it,” explained Nachum. “The library wants me to pay cash for it, but I can get a free copy from my relative. Can I just give back that copy or can the library demand cash payment?”

“You can return another copy of the book,” ruled Rabbi Dayan, “provided that it is in comparable condition to the one you borrowed.”

“Why is that?” asked the librarian.

“There is a significant discussion in a case of damage whether the primary responsibility is to repair the damage or to pay compensation for the monetary loss,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “We’ll leave that particular discussion for another occasion, but it seems clear that a borrower’s primary liability is to return the borrowed item or its replacement.”

“Furthermore, the Shulchan Aruch and most authorities rule that even a thief or one who damages can pay with moveable items (metatelin) in lieu of cash. The logic is that such items can easily be sold and converted to cash. We evaluate the item according to how much it can be sold for at that time and place.” (B.K. 7b; C.M. 419:1, 101:9)

“Nonetheless,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “if a library has clear terms that lost books must be paid for by cash value, those terms would be as binding as any other monetary agreement.”

“I’m wondering about another point,” Nachum said. “What if the borrowed item changed price between the time it was borrowed and when it was lost? Which price would you pay?”

“On this point, there is a difference between a thief and a borrower,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “A thief pays based on the item’s value at the time of the theft, if it is no longer intact to return it. A borrower, however, pays according to the item’s value at the time it was lost, because it continues to be in the owner’s possession until it’s lost.” (C.M. 362:1; Ketzos and Nesivos 291:1)

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 “Book Money”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range.
Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself Muslim-Free Zone’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Ba’al Shem Tov: “Hashem, too, is crying; as much as He is looking for us, we rarely look for Him.”

Rabbi Sacks

When we cry from the heart, someone listens; When we cry on Yom Kippur, God hears us.

Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

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 […]

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

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?

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/parsha/book-money/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: