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Din & Daf: Borrowing without Permission

Din & Daf: Conceptual Analysis of Halakha Through Case Study with Dr. Elana Stein Hain

Borrowing without Permission: Why is it Problematic?

Dr. Elana Stein Hain – dinanddaf@hadran.org.il

Printable source sheet

The Gemara in Bava Metzia 41a and 43b claim that one who uses another person’s items without permission is a thief and she is liable for damages if someone happens to the item even after she finished using it! Why should this be so, especially where the “borrower” returned the item to where she found it before anything happened to it? Is this categorization always relevant? In this shiur, we will examine the logic behind this categorization of thief, especially what it suggests about personal ownership in halakhah.

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בבא מציעא מג.

משנה: הַשּׁוֹלֵחַ יָד בְּפִקָּדוֹן, בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: יִלְקֶה בְּחָסֵר וּבְיָתֵר. וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: כִּשְׁעַת הוֹצָאָה. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר: כִּשְׁעַת הַתְּבִיעָה.

MISHNA: With regard to one who misappropriates a deposit, Beit Shammai say: the bailee is penalized for its decrease and its increase. If the value of the deposit decreases, the bailee is liable to pay in accordance with its value at the time of the misappropriation. If it increases in value, the bailee is liable to pay in accordance with its value at the time of repayment. And Beit Hillel say: He pays in accordance with its value at the time of removal. Rabbi Akiva says: He pays in accordance with its value at the time of the claim.

 

בבא מציעא מג:

…הָכָא בְּמַאי עָסְקִינַן? כְּגוֹן שֶׁטִּלְטְלָהּ לְהָבִיא עָלֶיהָ גּוֹזָלוֹת, וּבְשׁוֹאֵל שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת קָא מִיפַּלְגִי;

…With what are we dealing here? It is with a case where the bailee moved the barrel to stand upon it and bring fledglings from a nest in a tree. And they disagree with regard to one who borrows an item without the knowledge of the owner.

 

בֵּית שַׁמַּאי סָבְרִי: שׁוֹאֵל שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת – גַּזְלָן הָוֵי, וְכִי חָסַר – בִּרְשׁוּתָא דִּידֵיהּ חָסַר. וּבֵית הִלֵּל סָבְרִי: שׁוֹאֵל שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת – שׁוֹאֵל הָוֵי, וְכִי חָסַר – בִּרְשׁוּתָא דְּמָרֵהּ חָסַר.

Beit Shammai hold: The legal status of one who borrows an item without the knowledge of the owner is that of a robber in terms of responsibility. He is accorded that legal status the moment he moves the barrel. And therefore, when the value of the misappropriated deposit decreases, it decreases in his possession. Consequently, he pays in accordance with its value at the time that he borrowed the barrel. And Beit Hillel hold: The legal status of one who borrows without the knowledge of the owners is that of a borrower, and only when the barrel is broken is the bailee rendered liable to pay. And therefore, when the value of the barrel decreases, it decreases in the possession of its owner. Consequently, he pays in accordance with the barrel’s value at the time that it was damaged.

 

בבא בתרא פז: – פח. (sounds like you need da’at ba’alim to return it to its place*

 

משנה (פז:): הַשּׁוֹלֵחַ אֶת בְּנוֹ אֵצֶל חֶנְווֹנִי וּפוֹנְדְּיוֹן בְּיָדוֹ, וּמָדַד לוֹ בְּאִיסָּר שֶׁמֶן וְנָתַן לוֹ אֶת הָאִיסָּר; שָׁבַר אֶת הַצְּלוֹחִית וְאִבֵּד אֶת הָאִיסָּר – חֶנְווֹנִי חַיָּיב. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה פּוֹטֵר, שֶׁעַל מְנָת כֵּן שְׁלָחוֹ. וּמוֹדִים חֲכָמִים לְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַצְּלוֹחִית בְּיַד הַתִּינוֹק וּמָדַד חֶנְווֹנִי לְתוֹכָהּ – שֶׁחֶנְווֹנִי פָּטוּר.

MISHNA: One who sends his son to a storekeeper with a pundeyon (a coin worth two issar) in his hand, and the storekeeper measured oil for him for one issar and gave him the second issar as change, and the son broke the jug and lost the issar, the storekeeper must compensate the father. Rabbi Yehuda exempts him from liability, as he holds that the father sent his son in order to do this, i.e., to bring back the jug and coin. And the Rabbis concede to Rabbi Yehuda with regard to a case when the jug is in the hand of the child and the storekeeper measured the oil into it that the storekeeper is exempt if the child breaks the jug.

 

גמרא (פח.):…אָמַר רָבָא: אֲנִי וַאֲרִי שֶׁבַּחֲבוּרָה תַּרְגֵּימְנוּהָ – וּמַנּוּ? רַבִּי זֵירָא; הָכָא בְּמַאי עָסְקִינַן – כְּגוֹן שֶׁנְּטָלָהּ לָמוֹד בָּהּ לַאֲחֵרִים.

GEMARA:…Rava said: I and the lion of the group explained it. And who is that? Rabbi Zeira: Here we are dealing with a case where the storekeeper took the jug from the child in order to measure with it for others, without the knowledge of his father.

 

וּבְשׁוֹאֵל שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת קָא מִיפַּלְגִי – מָר סָבַר: שׁוֹאֵל הָוֵי, וּמָר סָבַר: גַּזְלָן הָוֵי.

And the Rabbis and Rabbi Yehuda disagree with regard to a borrower who takes an item without the owner’s knowledge. One Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that the storekeeper is considered like any other borrower and once he returns the jug to the child, he is no longer responsible for it. And one Sage, i.e., the Rabbis, holds that someone who borrows without the owner’s knowledge is a robber and is obligated to return the item to its owner. Therefore, the storekeeper must pay for the jug that the child broke before it reached the father.

 

 Machane Efraim – R. Efraim Navon  – הלכות גזילה סימן כ

 

שו”ת מהר”ם מרוטנבורג סימן תשכ”ג

באלפס (פ’ המפקיד) דשליחות יד א”צ חסרון כרבא דהוא בתראה סבר הכי והלכתא שואל שלא מדעת גזלן הוי וכבר נעשה מעשה שבחור אחד לקח תפילות מביהכ”×  בלא ידיעת הבעלים והחזירם בלא ידיעתם ונאבדו ומורי חייבו לשלם כי אמר שואל שלא מדעת גזלן הוי וקיי”ל כר”×¢ (ב”מ מ”א ×¢”א) דבעי’ דעת בעלים.

 

Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating Talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity  which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heaven’s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. Elana has also started TEXTing; a podcast where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.

 


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Beyond the Daf is where you will discover enlightening shiurim led by remarkable women, delving deep into the intricacies of Talmudic teachings, and exploring relevant and thought-provoking topics that arise from the Daf.

 

Dr. Elana Stein Hain

Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity (pre-order discount code: PENN-ESHAIN30) which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heaven’s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. In mid-January, Elana will be starting a new podcast called TEXTing, where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.
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