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The Kleins planned to spend Pesach in Yerushalayim and rent an apartment for Yom Tov.

“How much is the apartment?” Mr. Klein asked the owner, Mr. Gross.


“For all of Pesach, including Yom Tov Sheni – from Monday erev Pesach until Wednesday isru chag the rate is $200 a night.”

“OK, I’ll check,” said Mr. Klein.

“My sister invited us to stay with them from Shabbos Chol HaMoed until the end of Yom Tov,” Mrs. Klein said to her husband, “so we only need for the four nights from Monday until Friday.”

Mr. Klein called Mr. Gross. “B’ezrat Hashem, we will spend the second half of Yom Tov with my wife’s family,” he said, “so we’ll take the apartment at the nightly rate until Friday, for $800.”

During Chol HaMoed, Mrs. Klein’s sister called her. “Mazal tov!” she exclaimed. “Our daughter just gave birth, a week early. They asked us to join them for Shabbos and stay through the end of Yom Tov to help with the kids, so we won’t be home.”

“That’s wonderful news,” said Mrs. Klein. “I’ll check if we can extend our stay in the apartment.”

“Someone inquired about the end of Yom Tov, but I never finalized with him,” Mr. Gross said. “Either way, I’ll give you priority. If you want to stay – you can!”

After Yom Tov, Mr. Klein contacted Mr. Gross. “Since we ended up staying the full Pesach,” he said, “I’ll fill in the remaining $600.”

“Thank you, but you opted for the nightly rate,” replied Mr. Gross. “You need to pay for five additional nights, another $1,000.”

“That’s a lot,” replied Mr. Klein. “Since we stayed the whole Yom Tov, why should we pay the nightly rate?!”

“That was your choice,” Mr. Gross replied. “Remember, someone else inquired about the apartment; I might have gotten the nightly rate from him.”

The two approach Rabbi Dayan. Mr. Gross asked, “How much must Mr. Klein pay for the remainder of Yom Tov?”

“The binding terms of rental are those agreed upon when beginning the rental,” replied Rabbi Dayan (C.M. 307:2).

“Therefore, although Mr. Gross offered rental options for all of Pesach or per night; when Mr. Klein opted for the nightly rate and began the rental accordingly, that rate is binding. Thus, he owes $800 for the stay through Friday.

“Moreover, the letter of the law would seem that the remainder of Pesach should also be according to the nightly rate, since renting for the entire Pesach is no longer an option from Chol HaMoed henceforth. Seemingly, this is a new rental from Friday through the end of Yom Tov, as if another person had rented for that time, especially if there was already another potential renter who would pay the nightly rate.

On the other hand, Mr. Gross benefits from the extended rental. Unlike a new renter, there is no need to clean the apartment, change linen, resupply amenities, etc. Therefore, it would seem fair (as a recommended compromise) to grant Mr. Klein some discount, or perhaps even to prorate the remainder of the Yom Tov according to the full Pesach rate (see C.M. 311:6).

However, had the parties left the issue open before Yom Tov – i.e., both rates were stated, and Mr. Gross agreed to leave the ending date open – then we would retroactively determine that the rental was for all of Yom Tov, and Mr. Klein would be liable only for the full Pesach rate.

“To avoid misunderstandings,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “when extending the rental, you should have discussed explicitly what the charge would be for the remaining days.”

Verdict: Mr. Klein is liable for the nightly rate for the initial days, according to the rental agreement. For the remaining days, the letter of the law is also according to the nightly rate, but fairness would indicate (as a recommended compromise) granting some discount, taking into consideration the lower, full Pesach rate.


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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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected].