Story LineSponsorshipRabbi Meir Orlean
Rabbi Dayan always led the Kinos in his shul on Tishah B’Av, but was going away this year for the entire summer.
The shul president and board members decided to hire an outside speaker to lead the Kinos. They arranged with Rabbi Darshan to lead the Kinos and agreed on a respectable fee for the day.
“How should we fund the speaker?” the president asked.
“Congregants will likely be willing to sponsor the speaker,” replied the treasurer. “They will miss Rabbi Dayan’s inspirational words this year and will look forward to hearing Rabbi Darshan.”
“I think you’re right,” said the president. “Notify the congregants and we’ll hope for a positive response.”
A message was sent out to the congregants: “A guest speaker, Rabbi Darshan, will lead the Tishah B’Av Kinos this year. We are seeking sponsors for the speaker; checks should be made out to the shul.”
The community responded generously. Within a few days, people donated the necessary amount. “We should notify the congregants that we’ve reached the goal,” said a board member. “There is no need for additional sponsors.”
“Why stop people from donating?” asked the treasurer. “We can use the additional amount for general shul expenses. I see this as a good fund-raising cause!”
“Then we would have to notify them that the additional money will be used for general shul expenses,” countered the board member.
“What’s the difference?” said the treasurer. “Let each person think that he is a sponsor. No one knows who donated first!”
“But that’s misleading them,” countered the board member. “If they wanted to donate for general shul expenses they would have done so. Clearly they want to donate for this speaker!
“I suggest that we ask Rabbi Dayan,” said the president. “I’ll call him.”
“Do we need to alert the congregants that we’ve reached the goal?” the president asked Rabbi Dayan. “Can we retain the additional money for general shul functions?”
“This question relates to the issue of geneivas daas (misleading), which is prohibited” (C.M. 208:6), replied Rabbi Dayan. “Minchas Yitzchak (6:167) discusses whether a gabbai tzedakah may tell donors that he is collecting for a cause for which they are likely to donate generously, when in truth he is collecting for another cause.
“He prohibits doing so if the donor would not give the same amount had he known the true cause,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “Moreover, he writes that if a donor should find out and request that the additional amount be returned, the gabbai must do so” (Tzedakah Umishpat 7:[5*]).
“The same question was posed to Shevet HaLevi” (2:119), continued Rabbi Dayan. “He writes that doing so is not actual stealing, since in any case the money goes to tzedakah.
“Furthermore, if the gabbai did so, he can use the money for the true cause for which he collected, and it is not considered changing the cause of the tzedakah (see Y.D. 256:4), since the gabbai initially intended the money for this cause and we can assume the donor would consent. Nonetheless, he raises the issue of geneivas daas in initially misleading the donor” (Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 15:).
“Indication that geneivas daas is prohibited here can be brought from the gabbai Rabi Yanai (Arachin 6b), who would borrow from tzedakah money since this benefited the poor,” added Rabbi Dayan. “One explanation is that people would then have had to donate more, since there was insufficient money available. But he would not lie and state falsely that there was insufficient money” (Beis Yosef, Y.D. 259:3).
“Where does this leave us?” asked the president.
“We cannot collect for the shul under the guise of sponsoring Rabbi Darshan, or send out an additional notice indicating further need, or reply dishonestly to someone who asks whether more is needed,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Nonetheless, if additional people respond to the initial request, each person who contributes has a share in sponsoring the speaker. The additional amount should be used to fund similar Torah speakers” (Y.D. 253:6).
From the BHI HotlineLost Luggage
We went away for Shabbos and returned home by bus. When we arrived, one of our suitcases was missing from the compartment beneath the bus. A security camera at one of the bus stops showed that a passenger removed our luggage to reach his and forgot to put it back onto the bus.
Q: Is this person responsible for our loss?
A: A similar incident was addressed by the Rosh (Teshuvos 94:2). Reuven was traveling to a fair and Shimon asked Reuven to transport a pair of shoes. Reuven told Shimon to place them on his donkey. Along the way Reuven stepped away from the donkey, and the shoes were taken. The Rosh was asked whether Reuven is liable. The reason to exempt Reuven is that acceptance of custodial responsibilities requires explicit language to that effect. His statement “Place them on the donkey” is insufficient and consequently he is not even a shomer chinam (unpaid custodian). The Rosh answers that although Reuven did not use language to commit to be a custodian, he is nevertheless liable.
The reason is that when the phrase “Place it down” is used when they are inside a house, which is a safe place, Reuven is telling Shimon that he may place it there if he chooses. But when Reuven transports the shoes, he obviously accepts custodial responsibility for them. If he will not watch them, who will? Therefore, since he was negligent, he is liable (C.M. 291:2).
A simple reading of the Rosh implies that Reuven is liable because he was a negligent custodian. Some authorities prove, however, that even in a case in which Reuven is halachically not liable as a custodian — e.g., he did not make a kinyan — Reuven is still liable for damages. Since he moved them to an unsafe place, he is a mazik. It is comparable to someone who took a friend’s object and put it on the side of the road where it is not protected. This action is considered direct damage to the object (Nesivos 291:7).
Even though Reuven transported the shoes according to Shimon’s instructions, nevertheless, this permission is conditional on Reuven protecting them. Therefore, when Reuven left the shoes unattended by the side of the road, we realize that taking them from Shimon’s care in the first place was an act of damage and he is liable for the shoes.
It would seem, however, that some authorities opine that since he did not perform a direct act that caused damage he is only considered a grama (Rav Akiva Eiger, C.M. 291:2; Mishpat Hamazik 4:4).
In your case we might also consider whether the person who removed your luggage is liable as a shomer [in contrast to the Rosh’s incident, in this case removing the luggage from the bus may qualify as a kinyan if he is considered a shomer]. On the one hand, you never requested him, nor did he agree, to serve as a custodian for your luggage. On the other hand, he implicitly commits to watch the luggage since otherwise he does not have permission to remove it from the bus. Even though neither party consciously thought about this, it is mutually understood that a custodial relationship is created. Accordingly, he may be responsible when he negligently forgot to return it to the bus.
Even if one disputes this analogy, there is a moral obligation (latzeis yedei Shamayim) to reimburse you for indirectly causing you a loss that resulted from his negligence (Shach, C.M. 32:2).
Money mattersPayment by Non-Guarantor#418
Q: My neighbor owed someone money but was away for the summer, so I paid for him. Is he required to compensate me when he returns?
A: According to most authorities, when you pay another person’s loan without being instructed to, the borrower is not legally required to compensate you. Perhaps the borrower would have convinced the lender to cancel the debt or found others who would have paid gratis. In many situations, though, it is proper to compensate (C.M. 128:1; Shach 128:3).
However, if the borrower instructed or requested that you pay, he is required to compensate you, even if you were not a guarantor, since you laid out money at his request (Rema 129:1; Sma 129:3).
If the borrower asked you to become a guarantor after the loan was granted, without a kinyan, and you paid without explicit instruction from the borrower, although the commitment is not halachically binding, some maintain that the borrower is required to compensate you; others disagree (C.M. 130:2; Shach 129:3; Shaar Mishpat 129:1).