Questions about the Jewish Code of monetary and civil law.

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9
votes
3answers
124 views

Do our sources address the question of intellectual property vs the public good?

The NYTimes recently ran a piece about a malnourishment treatment that could save lives in Africa, but one company owns the recipe and controls it tightly. (See the article, I apologize if I'm not ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

What is the Halachah if someone lost an object despite efforts to protect it?

If someone charged with guarding an object took protective precautions, but it nonetheless disappeared, what is the Halachah? Let us assume they were not paid for their guardianship, nor were they ...
13
votes
2answers
356 views

What is the halachic status of things in outer space?

Is everything in outer space hefker? For example if a private person lands on the moon or an asteroid can he be koneh it? Do you retain the rights to something that you send into space?
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh ...
5
votes
0answers
60 views

responsibility for passing on a virus (medical)

Would one be obligated to pay any of the five types of damages paid upon wounding someone, if they were to infect that someone with a viral/bacterial disease, whether through: Peshia (negligence)? ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

May an employer dismiss an employee to pressure him in a non–work-related matter

Without discussing whether the particular case currently in the news actually qualifies as the situation I’m describing, consider the following case: In his private life, an employee of mine is ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Does one require a non-Jew to use beit din

Often, Jewish organizations have as a contract clause that employees agree to take issues to beit din and not (or at least, before) secular courts. But if the employee is not Jewish, is that ...
7
votes
1answer
163 views

Do we account for Sentimental Value?

Suppose Reuven steals a rare picture of Shimon's great grandfather from Shimon. Reuven then disposes of the picture and later wants to (or is caught, and therefore needs to) return the money to ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

How is ona'a determined?

Partially inspired by this question I would like to know exactly how ona'a (over/underchanging by more than 1/6th) is determined. For example tap water is free and in many parts of the united states ...
5
votes
2answers
118 views

Must one give notice?

The custom in the United States is that, whenever feasible, an at-will employee is given two weeks' notice when fired (except when fired for cause) and gives two weeks' notice when quitting a job. ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Is there a stated freedom to contract?

In the United States (and other countries), there is the notion of the freedom to contract. This is the idea that two people of sound mind have the right to enter into any contract with one another ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

Eruv t'chumin for dependants

One can 'force' a dependant to make an eruv t'chumin. Since they are only made for a dvar mitsva this is considered like forcing him to do a mitsva which one who has the power, has to do. Normally ...
11
votes
1answer
239 views

Does a child own what he's implicitly given by his parents?

I assume that when a parent owns an object and a child uses it, it remains the property of the parent's absent any intent/declaration on the parent's part to grant it to the child (and absent an act ...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

Repentance for stealing not accepted?

I've heard before that there is a Gemorah in Baba Kamma (also brought down in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Hilchos Genevah) that one who steals something and later wishes to repent and return what ...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Can I prevent trespass through (for example) my garden?

Does the Torah give me the right to stop other people using (for example) my garden as a short-cut between two places? If I try to prevent this trespass, am I to be criticised (say for withholding ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

Who is responsible for damage to something that was used at the owner's request?

Suppose you ask someone to use something that belongs to you, so that you can benefit from their use of it. For example, you (voluntarily) give a camera to someone you know to take a picture (of ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Does a borrower-lender / borrower-bailor have a claim against his borrower/bailee?

If a shoel (someone who borrowed non-fungible personalty) re-lent the borrowed item to a further borrower (which he may not do), the original borrower (i.e., the relender) is liable to the original ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

Is it permissible to embarrass a thief?

Here's a story I witnessed: Someone trying to get his car out of the public parking lot next to his building found his way out blocked by two cars parked right on the ramp out, whose owners went into ...
6
votes
2answers
281 views

Are robo-calls permitted?

A robo-call is an automated phone call that does not involve a human caller. The majority of these are uninvited solicitations (either for money or votes), and these are the ones I'm asking about. ...
12
votes
1answer
280 views

Insurance against משיח

According to this rather amusing blog post, there is apparently a common clause in rental contracts in Jerusalem, called the Messiah clause, in which, when a landlord outside of Israel rents out a ...
6
votes
2answers
157 views

In auctions today are you still obligated after being out-bid?

A mishna on Erchin 27a discusses buying land back after it has been consecrated. It says that if one offered ten selas, another twenty, etc. up to one who offered fifty, and then that last guy ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

Is Sephardi Chief Rabbi Sholomo Amar's recent psak on fiduciary responsibility really “unprecedented”?

HaAretz, last week, reported that Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a halachic decision that "[b]usiness owners whose actions, either intentionally or through negligence, cause the public ...
8
votes
1answer
294 views

Neighbors inappropriate mail

If I see a neighbors inappropriate mail, am I allowed to throw it out?
6
votes
3answers
389 views

Investing in Halacha

Does anyone know some halachik sources that discuss investing in stocks? There are many potential issues. For example, do you need to worry (about ribbis) if your money is used to lend with interest? ...
8
votes
1answer
101 views

Is Dina D'Malchusa a din in Gavra or in Cheftza?

Let's say that Reuvain owes Shimon money in American law, and Dina Demalchusa applies, does that mean: Reuvein has a halachic monetary obligation to Shimon which is as strong as any other ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Using a Stamp from an RSVP Card

Many invitations come with return card envelopes that are already affixed with proper postage. Suppose, the recipient of such a card has no intention of replying (or decides to reply by some other ...
8
votes
2answers
88 views

Dressing similarly at a Din Torah - When did this change and why?

Gemara Shevuos 31a says that if two people come to Bais Din one dressed in rags and the other dressed in expensive clothing, we make them dress similarly. Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 235 indicates that ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Receiving money for a day's work, considering it to cover a debt?

I will pose this general question by presenting the following scenario: Reuvan works for Shimon. One time, at the end of the day, when Shimon came to pay Reuvan for that day's work (which was $100.), ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

What is the status of a library loan?

When you borrow something from the (secular) library does it follow the same halacha as a loan from one Jew to another?
5
votes
4answers
160 views

Ditch school: stealing?

If your parents pay for you to go to school and you ditch, is that stealing?
7
votes
1answer
110 views

Why can't we Mafkiya kiddushin?

According to DoubleAA, R' Shechter says that any three people have a right to declare items hefker through Hefker Beis Din Hefker. According to that, why doesn't an average Beis Din have a power to ...
15
votes
1answer
218 views

How much must one do to to sign a contract?

Nowadays most software comes with a EULA. In order to install the software one must click the "agree" button. However, there are some software that says are distributed through different licenses. For ...
5
votes
2answers
147 views

Recording music from radio

When I was a kid, I used to enjoy recording music from Jewish radio programs onto cassette tapes (remember those?). Nowadays the process is much easier, as many portable music players include an FM ...
6
votes
2answers
283 views

Can I defend my animals with lethal force?

We know that it is permitted, in self-defense, to kill one who is trying to kill you, and I have heard that this applies to other people too (I see someone trying to kill someone else and I ...
14
votes
2answers
390 views

Can a book with ancient text really be copyright?

Pick up your local chumash, siddur or gemara. Open it to the front page. There it is, the dreaded ©. But to me that seems quite odd. Can the text of the actual davening or talmud really be ...
7
votes
1answer
237 views

Transfer of loan / mortgage from non-Jew to Jew

What happens if a Jew borrows money on interest from a non-Jew, and then the lender turns around and sells the debt to a Jew? (Such transactions are very common in the mortgage industry.) Is it ...
8
votes
1answer
123 views

Animal rights vs other considerations in halacha and hashkafa

On a boat, Reuven owns five ostriches and one of them eats a diamond off of Shimon's hat which is on his head. Though we are not sure which one ate it we know with certainty that one of them did. ...
7
votes
2answers
175 views

Do you have to pay if you damage someone in order to stop them from sinning?

There is a story in Brachos where R' Ada bar Ahava ripped a Karbalta (a red non-tznius garment) off a woman, and then discovered that she was not Jewish. He then was fined for that act 400 zuz. He ...
8
votes
1answer
131 views

Does one have to return the specific bills that one stole?

If one stole a hundred dollars in regular cash (e.g. no rare bill editions), and still has those bills, does he have to return those particular bills or can he return any hundred dollars?
11
votes
4answers
517 views

what are the limits of “mesira”?

It seems that most people have an idea that you cannot report a Jew to the non-Jewish authorities (police, government, etc) except for extreme circumstances (imminent danger, abuse, etc). However, ...
7
votes
1answer
208 views

Are kickbacks prohibited?

Would a person be allowed to give/take bribes to a person responsible for purchasing in a company? Would it be forbidden directly as "shochad" (bribery) or under a general prohibition of Gnevas Daas, ...
18
votes
2answers
311 views

Does Jewish Law Recognize Bankruptcy?

If someone borrowed money and then declared bankruptcy, does he still have a halachic obligation to pay it back? If the lender was a corporation (bank, etc.). If the lender was a friend. Do we say ...
5
votes
2answers
242 views

Do non-Jews inherit?

Inspired by this question. If a non-Jew dies, do his children (or other inheritors) automatically assume possession of his properties (karka), loose items (metaltelin), and debts the way Jewish ...
7
votes
4answers
468 views

Patents in Halacha?

If someone invents something new (and unique), does Judaism recognize that he has ownership over the invention [for x years]?
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Ethical business dealings [closed]

A synagogue (shul) employee who is not empowered to obligate the shul financially, convinced a member to get a loan against her house to lend the synagogue money to put on a concert of Jewish music. ...
4
votes
2answers
261 views

Handling Conflict between Jewish and Civil Law

This question is an offshoot from the one titled "Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture" Taking under the knowledge that the previous question was well answered with an observation: It's ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

How can one who contradicted witnesses use those witnesses later?

Case 1 Plaintiff Reuvein made a claim against Shimon that Shimon owes $100 to Reuvein through a loan. Shimon said: "I never borrowed anything from you". Reuvein brought two witnesses (Pair A) that ...
5
votes
3answers
223 views

Is there any issue except for Dina Dmalchusa in counterfeiting money?

If someone were to find a way to make exact forgery of currency (in such a way that it would be impossible for anyone to find that it's counterfeit), would there be any prohibition to do so (except ...
7
votes
2answers
305 views

Stealing from or causing damage to a third party to save life or limb

Suppose Fred is in danger of death or injury, and the most direct way to avoid that fate involves stealing or damaging property belonging to Ernie, an uninvolved person. Examples: Fred is being ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Using physical force to get past a passive blockader

Suppose that Billy wants to enter a building that he's legally entitled to enter, but Augustine places himself in front of the building's entrance in such a way that Billy cannot enter without coming ...