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“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)

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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.