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Fellow Weekly Newsletter - Issue 71 "THE BAFFLED BABYSTTER! PART V: ENTANGLED BENNY" Business Law and Ethics for the Shabbos Table

Publication: Fellow Weekly Newsletter

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Fellow Weekly Issue 71

Welcome to Fellow Weekly's: WHAT'S THE LAW?™ Encouraging intelligent and entertaining debate at your Shabbos table. What's the Law?™ raises issues of business law and ethics through lively emails by featuring your real-life scenarios answered by our leading authorities and professionals.

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It's a girl! Excitement was abound in the Berman Jerusalem second floor apartment as the children enjoyed their two-week stint under Grandma Bertha's careful watch. Mrs. Berman's mother's post-birth visits to Israel typically proved to be thoroughly adventurous.

Out on the white cobblestone courtyard the Berman children frolicked with their friendly next door neighbors the Gold's, while Mrs. Gold and Grandma Bertha sat in the soothing shade on the nearby wooden bench chatting and knitting. “I have got to run upstairs for a moment to turn down the flame beneath my boiling chicken soup, ,hang the laundry, and refill the washing machine," said Mrs. Gold to Grandma Bertha. "Do you mind just keeping an eye out for my darlings until I return? I do not expect it to take too long."

"Your kids?! No problem. They are such well-trained saplings, Mrs. Gold. No need to worry!" replied Grandma Bertha.

Mrs. Gold scurried upstairs, Grandma Bertha returned to her knitting and most of the children continued to play.

Moments later, shrieking was heard from an upstairs apartment. Four year old Benny Gold had surreptitiously tracked Mom's steps, made his way up the stairwell, only to find Fried's first floor apartment door wide open. Benny ran inside looked for Mom, tripped over a black wire and Mr. Fried's client's laptop came crashing down for a landing.

Entangled in the wire, Benny fell and broke his leg.

What's the Law?

Please email us with your comments, questions, and answers at

Read next week's issue for the answer!



Mark Green O.T.D., a Philadelphian native specialized in geriatric Occupational Therapy. His keen understanding of his clientele, cheerful optimism, honesty, warmth and professional approach earned him repute across the country. Renowned for his innovative communication and memory skills - training methods to decelerate the progression of dementia, Green was invited to lecture at the Orlando Conference of Professional Care Management Providers.

Mark settled down at Gate B-16 in Philadelphia International 45 min before boarding time and flipped out his ASUS™ laptop to review his PowerPoint presentation. Green though, struggled to keep his eyes open.

Directly across the three yard aisle, sat the graying Dr. Stern preparing his own dissertation on CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) patients. "I'm hopping over to Starbucks and will be back shortly. I will bring you back a Cappuccino. " Green said to Stern. "Please do keep an eye on my belongings." The two exchanged friendly smiles and Green was off.

Green returned to the gate fifteen minutes later, eyed Stern standing on line, waiting to board the US-AIR flight, both carry-ons at his side...but Mark's ASUS™ was gone.

Stern had been staring down at his Blackberry™ replying to an email looked up and the ASUS™ had taken off.

What's the Law?

The Answer

Dr. Stern is absolved from paying for Green's ASUS.

Detailed Explanation


A trustee, legally known as a bailee, is liable for the loss or damage of chattel or livestock a bailor entrusts under his or her jurisdiction. The bailor/bailee relationship is called a bailment [Exodus 22:6-14].

(The degree of liability is contingent on the degree of benefit the bailee receives from his/her supervision.

A. A gratuitous bailee receives no benefit for the service he/she provides to the bailor: hence is liable for no more than damages or loss due to bailee's negligence

B. A baillee for hire receives payment: hence is liable for theft or loss

C. a renter pays for usage rights: hence is liable for theft or loss

D. A borrower receives usage rights at no cost: hence is liable even for accidental occurrences) [Ibid. See Issue # 24 for Bailee Liability Chart].

Take Off: Pre-Tarmac implicates the following law.

Generally, a gratuitous bailey and a bailey for hire assume responsibility and consequential liability upon meeting three sequential requirements <[i>Choshen Mishpat 291: 2,3

1. The bailer requests the bailey to cognitively supervise the deposit,

1.1 "Can you please watch my article?" is an example of a request for cognitive supervision.

1.2 "Can you please keep an eye out for my belongings?" is an example of request for a mere associative level of supervision.

2. The bailey consents to cognitively supervise the deposit

2.1 Conversely, a request/consent for mere associative supervision lacks the basic ingredient for affecting a bailment.

2.2 Note: Circumstances often indicate whether a cognitive or an associative supervision was expected/accepted irrespective of the language employed.

3. The deposit legally transfers into the bailey’s jurisdiction

[Means of legal transfer include

3.1 Bailey lifting the deposit

3.2 moving the deposit into the bailey’s property or

3.3 in a semi-populated area; positioning the deposit within the bailey’s exclusive four cubit radius.]


Stern was preoccupied with his personal business. Green simply told him to keep an eye out for his belongings. At best, Green requested an associative supervision from Stern.

Simillarly, Stern exchanged a friendly smile. A friendly smile does not indicate consenting to cognitively supervise Green's belongings.

Green's ASUS remained three yards away from Stern. While the waiting area may be considered a semi-populated area, three yards is not within Stern's exculsive four cubit radius. Thus, Green's ASUS never transferred in to his jurisdiction.

Although, Mark Green offered Stern to pay him with a Cappuccino for his services, he failed to meet most of the basic requirements to affect a "bailment". Consequently, Stern never assumed responsibility to cognitively supervise Green's belongings and remains absolved from the mishap due to his negligent lack of supervision.

[Answered by The Fellow-Yesharim Research Center]


Although we aim to present the correct ruling, varying details are always important and decisively influence every individual case. Our readers are thus encouraged to present their personal cases to a competent authority and not solely rely on the information provided.

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