web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Republican Sen. Kirk at Senate debate on pro-sanctions amendment.
Senate Warns Obama by 100-0 Vote for Pro-Sanctions Amendment
Latest Judaism Stories
Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

Nothing beats some preparation to make it a memorable Seder!

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

Business-Halacha-logo

“Do we have to donate again?” some people asked. “Is it fair that we should have to pay twice?”

“This sounds like a question for Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Cohen. He took out his cell phone and called Rabbi Dayan.

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

“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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/book-money/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: