web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Halachos Regarding Damaged Property – Replacement Or Reimbursement?


.

Share Button

This week’s parshah, Parshas Mishpatim, discusses various halachos regarding monetary issues. One of the topics revolves around when one damages another person’s property. One is responsible to pay for the damage that either he or his possessions caused.

The Machaneh Ephraim (Hilchos Nizkei Mammon) discusses the following scenario – one breaks an item that is worth $10 at the time that it was broken. On the day that the individual is to pay, the item has devalued and is only worth $8. How much does he have to pay, $10 or $8? Similarly, can he replace the item with an exact replica of the broken item that is now worth less or does he have to reimburse the owner with the cash value of the item at the time it was broken?

The Gemara discusses the halacha of this case regarding when one steals an item. If the item is still intact, it can be returned even if the price has decreased. If the item is physically damaged, one cannot return it and cannot buy a new one at the lesser price; rather, he must pay the owner what it was worth at the time it was stolen. Here’s the question: Does the halacha of repaying for damages follow the halacha of stealing, or does it differ – allowing one to replace the damaged item at a lower price?

The Machaneh Ephraim says that this is in fact a machlokes Rishonim. The Rambam, Rashi, and Tosafos are all of the opinion that the halacha of paying for damages does not follow the halacha of repaying for stealing an item, and thus one may replace the item at a lower price or pay the current lower price. The Raavad and the Rush opine that the halacha of reimbursing one for damages that were incurred on one’s property follows the halacha of paying for a broken stolen item; thus one is obligated to pay the value that the item was worth at the time that it was broken.

We can simply explain that the machlokes Rishonim depends on the following question: When one damages an item is he obligated to replace the item, either with an actual item or with money to purchase an item at today’s price, or is he obligated to pay for the loss that the owner incurred at the time of the damage?

Based on this, the Machaneh Ephraim explains the following machlokes between the Rambam and the Raavad (Hilchos To’en V’niten 5:2) – the halacha is that mi’de’oraysa one can only swear regarding movable objects; one cannot swear on a matter concerning land. If one claims that his fellow dug two holes on his land and thereby cheapened the value of the land and his fellow only admits to digging one hole, he does not have to swear mi’de’oraysa. Generally, when one admits to part of a claim he is obligated to swear mi’de’oraysa. However, says the Rambam, since this oath would concern land he is exempt from swearing. The Raavad argues that this case is not considered swearing regarding land, but rather they are disputing how much money is owed – in which case he is obligated to swear mi’de’oraysa.

The Machaneh Ephraim explains that this machlokes is dependent on the question that we discussed above. The Rambam, as mentioned earlier, holds that when one damages an item he is obligated to replace it. Therefore, when one damages land he is obligated to replace the land. This being the reason that the Rambam considered the dispute to be concerning land, he was unable to swear mi’de’oraysa. The Raavad was of the opinion that one is not obligated to replace the item that he damaged, but rather that one is indebted to pay the owner the value that was lost at the time of the damage. It is for this reason that the Raavad said that the dispute here concerns money and not land – thereby allowing for an oath mi’de’oraysa.

Reb Chaim Soloveitchik raised the following question regarding this scenario -  there only exists two of a certain type of stamp and they both belong to one individual. Since two of these stamps exist, they are each worth $50. If there would only be one of them in the world, it would be worth $100. If someone were to destroy one of the stamps, would he be obligated to pay the owner or would we say that since there was technically no loss of money – as the remaining stamp increased in value – he is not obligated to pay?

Initially, Reb Chaim said that it is dependent on the question that we mentioned earlier. If the obligation to pay, when one damages, is to reimburse the owner for his loss, then in this case where there was no loss one need not pay anything. However, if one is obligated to replace an item that he damaged, and if he is unable to replace it he must then pay for it, then in this case that finds him unable to replace the item he should be obligated to pay for it.

Reb Chaim then said that even if the obligation of someone who damaged is to replace the broken item, he is only obligated when there is a loss. If there is no loss whatsoever, he is not a mazik (damager), and would thus not be responsible. Therefore, if the remaining stamp is worth less than the combined value of both stamps (less than $100) – namely that the owner incurred a loss – he is considered a mazik, and will therefore be obligated to replace the stamp at full cost.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

Share Button

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.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.

No Responses to “Halachos Regarding Damaged Property – Replacement Or Reimbursement?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

One difference between Bnei Yisrael and Bnei Noach is that shiurim only apply to Bnei Yisrael.

The Gemara, in Kiddushin 57b, searches for a source to confirm that the bird that is to be set free is permitted to be eaten after the process is concluded.

The Gemara (Niddah 31b) states that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was asked why a woman who gives birth must bring a korban.

The Ritvah understands that the kosher signs are not just “signs” indicating that a fish is kosher; rather, they are what actually render the fish kosher. This may also be applied to the kosher signs of an animal, but the Ritvah does not indicate this.

If a korban chatas cannot be brought as a nedavah, how can one read the parshah of the korban chatas if he is not certain that he is obligated to bring one?

Following the Minchah (afternoon) service, led by the Vyelipoler Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Frankel, rally participants recited several passages of Tehillim.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/replacement-or-reimbursement/2012/02/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: