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18

I was in a jury pool on a winter Friday and told the bailiff that I would need to leave early. The judge brought up the issue publicly and said that she would not want me to miss out on such an important privilege because of my religious requirements. She dismissed the entire pool at 3:00. Needless to say, I was highly popular that day.


14

There are essentially two issues here: Am I somehow stealing from the owner (by taking away bandwidth)? Does the fact that the owner left it open mean he/she agrees to me using it? Am I somehow stealing from the ISP (or perhaps causing the owner to violate his/her TOS agreement with the ISP)? In each of these 2 problems we have yet another split: What ...


14

I just read this super-inspiring post "Jury Duty: A Piece of Kugel". In short, talk to the judge...


12

(Source: this article on Torah.org) If the one who made the mistake is a Jew: Absolutely yes, you must return it. If the one who made the mistake is a non-Jew: there's lots of discussion, and it appears it's not so clear. But remember: doing so anyways will create a Kiddush Hashem (and is probably the right thing to do). To quote a relevant story retold ...


11

I think there are a few different scenarios here: Shmerel looks into his neighbor Berel's mailbox, and sees something inappropriate. Mind your own business. Messing with his mailbox is a federal crime. Dina d'malchusa dina. R' Moshe Feinstein once dealt with a fellow who would seize people's (totally appropriate) stuff and demand they give tzedaka ...


11

The g'mara in B'rachot 5b relates the story of R. Huna, who seemed to be being punished for something (his wine soured). It was suggested that he had failed to pay a share-holder, to which he replied that said person had stolen from him. They cite a proverb that "if you steal from a thief you also have a taste of it". The g'mara relates that he pledged to ...


11

In 1981, Hugh Carey was governor of New York. According to Wikipedia: He is also remembered for preventing conservative legislators from reinstating the death penalty So the subject of the death penalty would certainly have been on his mind. My understanding of the responsum is Rav Moshe is not weighing in pro or con per se regarding what the State ...


10

Well you have to remember that in those days houses were not quite like they are today. The floors were earthen and they (the houses) were generally only 1 story high. So the simplest way to get into a house is to dig under the wall. Going through the front door is problematic: a) it's in a location where it's super-easy for the owner to notice (squeak) b) ...


10

The idea behind a kickback is generally to steal from a third party. For example Reuven is a buyer from XYZ corp, Shimon is a salesman for ABC inc. Shimon wants to sell widgets to XYZ corp so he comes to Reuven and tries to convince him to have XYZ corp buy them for $100 a piece. Reuven says XYZ corp will pay $120 a piece but I want you to give me (Reuven ...


10

Thanks to Reddit user Bar Kappara (by way of @Isaac Moses) for this answer: Devarim Rabba 3:3: It is told of Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach that he once purchased an ass from an Ishmaelite. When his disciples came, they found a jewel suspended from its neck and said, "Master, 'The blessing of Hashem, it makes rich.'" [Proverbs 10:22] Rabbi Simon ben Shetach ...


10

I would think that the normal assumption for an employee discount would that it would be for the personal use of the employee and not for his friends and not for him to do business with. I am supported in this by this article about the Original Employee Discount. He quotes: “When you come [to work] in your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat the ...


10

There's a whole article by Rabbi Yaacov Feit about this in the Journal of Beth Din of America, vol. I called, unsurprisingly, "The Prohibition Against Going to Secular Courts." It begins: The Torah states (Exodus 21:1), “Ve’eleh ha-mishpatim asher tasim lifneihem,” “And these are the statutes which you shall place before them.” The Talmud (Gittin 88b), ...


9

There are several issues: If the person is paying by data used, he is losing through your download, so you are a damager and it would be forbidden Just because the person left it open doesn't mean he doesn't mind other people using it, he might just not know how to lock it. If there is a clause in his contract to the ISP not to let others use his ...


9

Rabbi Michael Broyde (a Justice of the Beth Din of America) has a full article of the topic available in English here. He surveys a wide range of opinions from R Eliezer Waldenberg (author of Tzitz Eliezer), who holds that the prohibition of reporting does not apply in a just society, to that of R Moshe Feinstein (author of Igrot Moshe), who holds that the ...


9

Rabbi Yair Hoffman has an analysis in the 5 Towns Jewish Times here (hat-tip to VIN for pointing me to it): The article views the question primarily around the issue of Onaah which it defines as 16.7% above or below market value (and possibly just a pricing mistake regardless). If that issue applied, then the sale would be invalid. The conclusion of the ...


8

If I understand correctly, a patent means you've told the world your idea, but the law protects others from using it to compete against you for a period of time. (As opposed to actually stealing someone's secret formula, which is an entirely different issue.) Based on my understanding of this article, there are two schools of thought among poskim about ...


8

I wrote to Business Halacha Institute and they answered that it is prohibited to do so. As requested, here is the conversation: Aside from the secular law ramifications (illegal in the US): I would be interested in knowing how cell phone jammers fit into halacha, and what the reasons behind forbidding [or permitting] their use would be. Also ...


8

In those cases, the copyright would apply to the refinements made to the text as a result of the publisher's research. For example, if you want to publish a sefer you cannot just grab the text from the Bar Ilan disk, since they put much effort into correcting the mistakes and expanding the abbreviations, etc. If, however, a publisher is just copying an old ...


8

This is called מציל עצמו בממון חבירו, saving yourself at the expense of someone else's property. Fred is indeed liable to pay Ernie for any damages, even if he was trying to save his own life (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 380:3), and certainly if it was just to save his own property from theft or confiscation (ibid. 292:8 and and 388:2).


8

Let's leave aside the question of whether the concept of "kol demekadesh adaata derbanan hu demekadesh" (weddings are conditional on the agreement of the greater rabbinate) relies on their power to declare things ownerless. 700 years ago, the Rashba (Responsa 1162) asked why the rabbis didn't cancel weddings retroactively in the case of a happily-married ...


7

Here's what I heard from Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz on the subject: The Aruch HaShulchan (living in Russia a hundred years ago) wrote that if a government's laws are fair to everyone, "like England's laws, or the Glorious Czar's", then no prohibition of mesira ("snitching") applies. Some feel that the entire sentence was written to placate the censor, and ...


7

The question is addressed in the poskim, I believe it gets a footnote in Shulchan Aruch at the end of the Laws of Purim. I recall hearing a tape about this a few years ago. In short, drunkenness alone is not a defense (see below); what may be a defense is that if the damages were caused "as part of normally-acceptable merrymaking." Tosfos (France, 1200s) ...


7

From Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah, Part 2, Siman 10: ... My opinion is that the Katan (Minor?) that caused damage will have to pay when he grows up. Then he says that not everybody agrees to this (and think that he doesn't have to pay even when he grows up) but he couldn't find their opinion in Shulchan Aruch. So the discussion is about the Katan's payment ...


7

Anytime that you purchase something using anything that you claim has value, but in fact is not what it appears, you are guilty of fraud and theft, both of which are Isurei DeOraitha (Biblical prohibitions). It has nothing to do with whether or not the country you are in considers it a felony or a misdemeanor, or even if it is encouraged as an economic ...


7

Maybe it would be similar to the case of an uncancelled stamp? This page cites R. Menashe Klein zt"l as ruling that you can't reuse the stamp in that case, because of dina d'malchusa. (There is also the famous story of the Chofetz Chaim ripping up stamps when he had letters delivered by courier rather than the postal system, so as not to deprive the ...


7

Halachah distinguishes between two kinds of indirect damages: g'rama, for which one is exempt from court-imposed penalties or repayments (although he is still liable to Heavenly judgment until he makes good the loss); and garmi, for which a court of law can hold him liable. (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 386) What distinguishes g'rama from garmi is ...


7

I asked my local Orthodox rabbi. (FYI: he's Chareidi.) He said that ad-blocking software is permissible to use. He added that even if it's hard for webmasters to detect and work around adblockers, that's no problem for me: some things in life are hard. My rabbi said it was fine for me to post his ruling online. But he asked me not to mention his name ...


6

Each man ends up eating 1 2/3 loaves, and giving the remainder to the visitor. Thus, person #1 gave him 4/3 (1 1/3), while person #2 gave him 1/3. The fact that they framed the transaction in terms of "pooling the loaves" doesn't mean that the first fellow gave anything to the second one. I wonder, however, whether the visitor's intent plays a role here. ...


6

It is illegal in many areas even if the case law on it is not well established. See: http://compnetworking.about.com/od/wirelessfaqs/f/legal_free_wifi.htm for some discussion on cases in various states. (There's even a case of someone having been arrested.) You may want to brush up on the local laws to see if you have an issue of Dina D'malchuta ...



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