Ethics

For the week ending 8 May 2010 / 23 Iyyar 5770

The Stolen Cash Part Two

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: In our Parshat Tetzaveh issue we quoted Dayan Shlomo Cohen, a member of a rabbinical court in Jerusalem, regarding someone who took a large sum of cash for a colleague to his safety deposit box only to have it stolen on the way through his negligence. Dayan Cohen ruled that the sender could demand payment from his colleague and did not have to make a claim to the insurance company as the colleague insisted.

David Rose subsequently raised the question as to whether the colleague is liable since it is illegal to store cash in a safety deposit box and asked whether this affects his liability.

Answer: Dayan Cohen replied that although the general rule is that when one commits a sin on behalf of another, the agent is responsible, in this case the agent assumed responsibility for someone else's property and is therefore considered a shomer who must guard the object in a safe place. Even if it is illegal to put cash in a safety deposit box, the colleague is obligated to pay for his negligence.

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