Is one obligated to continue to pay tuition to a Jewish day school when it closes due to an unforeseen/unforeseeable situation, such as the current coronavirus pandemic? (Assume a standard school contract that doesn't mention such a scenario, and that payments are in installments throughout the year.)

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    A similar question could be asked about the pay of the teachers. Mar 17, 2020 at 9:31
  • You can also ask about people renting halls - do they get a refund for their booking which they can no longer take advantage of? I’ll have to ask my Rebbe - he was just paskening on these types of questions last I spoke with him before we were sent home.
    – DonielF
    Mar 17, 2020 at 14:30
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    In Jewish law there is no such thing as holiday pay or payment for nothing. Unless a contract has been made one never has to pay for no work. That the person will starve is no more your concern than anyone else.
    – interested
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:58
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    @interested But there is a contract here. The issue at hand is whether an oness to this degree can absolve someone of the contract I think.
    – DonielF
    Mar 22, 2020 at 16:16
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    baltimorejewishlife.com/news/… Apr 28, 2020 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


See https://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Halachot_Related_to_Coronavirus#Laid_off_Workers_Because_of_Corona

Rabbi Zylberman on yutorah.

Mordechai b"m 343 writes that if there's a decree in the town that the teachers can't teach the teachers should still be paid. Rama C.M. 321:1 cites this Mordechai and applies it to any worker in 334:1. Netivot 334:1 limits the idea of the Mordechai to a teacher and not other employers since a teacher is paid for sachar betela. Shach 334 holds that this opinion of the Mordechai only applies if majority of the town ran away because of a crisis but if only a minority runs away then the employee isn't entitled to payment.

The Sama 334:2 argues with the Mordechai and holds that since the employee can't work and both aren't at fault and both couldn't foresee this the employer is exempt.

Aruch Hashulchan 334:10 has another approach. If the situation prevents the worker from working then he is entitled to pay but if he runs away then he isn't.

Rabbi Zylberman explained from Mishpat Poalim we think that this is a case of Hamotzei Mchavero Alav Harayah, whoever is holding onto the money can claim that he is exempt from paying or returning the money. Rav Asher Weiss in Minchat Asher 2:106 says that they should make a compromise, and Rav Bleich (Contemporary Halachic Problems v. 4) thinks that we follow the Rama. Once the Chatom Sofer had a case in his town and he felt that they should pay but he couldn't force everyone to pay it so he told them to pay half. Rav Yona Reiss had a case where they made a compromise.

  • I don't think any of this applies here, since neither the school nor the teachers are employees of the parents.
    – simyou
    Mar 22, 2020 at 16:11
  • I understand the s'ma. But I am not in the inyan. They seem to talk about having to run away. I am sure in our case there is some method he can teach at least some of the children and no need to be paid for nothing.
    – interested
    Mar 22, 2020 at 17:23
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    While interesting and a good starting place, this doesn't apply to teachers/schools/students who are expected to continue remotely.
    – user6591
    Apr 28, 2020 at 19:33

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