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Fellow Weekly Newsletter - Issue 76 "Drilled! Jimmy or Dad?" Business Law and Ethics for the Shabbos Table

Publication: Fellow Weekly Newsletter

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Fellow Weekly - Issue 76


Welcome to Fellow Weekly! WHAT'S THE LAW?™ Encouraging intelligent and entertaining debate at your Shabbos table. Fellow Weekly 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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CASE 176: Drilled! Jimmy or Dad?

His long awaited vacation weekend finally arrived and Mr. Fried opted to spend quality-time with his loving family in the warmth and comfort of his heated Toronto home. The cherished bonding times spent with his two teenage boys were always memorable and richly rewarding. The trio were quite handy and enjoyed participating in joint building ventures. This year's escapade included constructing new wooden book cases along the back wall of the den.

Mr. Fried borrowed a third drill from his elderly neighbor Herman Weiss, and gave it to fifteen year old Jimmy. Jimmy began his task with enthusiasm and spirit. Fatigue beginning to overcome Jimmy, Herman's drill slipped out of his hands fell on the marble floor and suffered significant damage.

- Who pays, Jimmy or Mr. Fried?

What is the law?

Please email us with your comments and answers at

Read next week's issue for the answer!


Case 175: The Baffled Babysitter Part VI: Lone Payment!

Blessed with an other-worldly aura of peace and camaraderie; snugly nestled amidst the rolling green and brown Judean Slopes, the close-knit Anglo-Saxon community fostered warmth, compassion and a sense of belonging. Encouraged to develop their talents and forte towards enhancing the lives of others, the community members viewed their neighborhood as the fertile grounds for the nurturing of a blissful society of givers.

Supported by the community's generosity, David Kagan founded a well-run free-loan fund which provided short term interest- free loans to members and friends of the community.

One cold December Thursday evening, after the Kagan children were settled peacefully in their beds, a persistent knock on the front-door disturbed Sara's studies. Doggy -earring her textbook, Sara the babysitter rose from her plush seat and softly made her way from the heated sitting room towards the front door. Peaking through the peep hole she recognized Mrs. Berman on the other side. Sara opened the door, the chill gusted through the entry, and the twosome exchanged friendly smiles.

"Welcome, Mrs. Berman! Fancy meeting you here," chanted a shivering Sara. "Hi Sara, I'm sure the Kagan's appreciate your work as much as we do. Could I ask you to please hand this white envelope over to Mr. Kagan when he returns home? Please take care not to misplace it, Sara. I'm repaying a loan of thirteen thousand dollars which is due tomorrow. Thank you so much. We'll see you tomorrow over at our home..."

Mrs. Berman turned around to be on her way and Sara stood between the two doorposts shocked, alone, cold, and bewildered.

May Sara accept the payment from Mrs. Berman?

What is the law?

The Answer

No. Although the Kagan's and Berman's trust Sara to watch their children, David never indicated that he trusted Sara to accept a thirteen-thousand dollar loan payment on behalf of the free-loan fund. Mrs. Berman is required to pay David or David's appointed deputy and otherwise remains liable even for unforeseen losses of the funds.

Detailed Explanation

The Baffled Babysitter VI: A Lone Payment

1. A borrower must return a borrowed article to the lender or his/her appointed deputy. Otherwise, the borrower remains liable even for losses due to unforeseen circumstances [Choshen Mishpat 340: 5] .

2. While a gratuitous bailee may return the bailment (article) to the depositor or any of his/her adult household members, a borrower may only return the article to the lender's adult household members; [whereby absolving the borrower from his/her liabilities,] whom are empowered to handle the family's finances [Choshen Mishpat 291: 21].


Sara the babysitter has no jurisdiction over the finances of the free-loan fund. Neither was she appointed by Mr. Kagan to receive payments on behalf of the fund. As a borrower, Mrs. Berman is required to take additional care and return it only to one who maintains financial jurisdiction over the fund or else appointed by the officers to receive payments.

[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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