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 of kinyan, acquisition). Thus, for example, if a parent buys a piece of furniture and puts it in the child's room in the parent's house, whether that child is a bar mitzva or not yet, but assuming the child is dependent on the parent, then the furniture remains the parent's. (If that's wrong, please source a correction, and that'd make a good answer.)

My questions are:

  • Do any sources discuss whether referring to the object as the child's constitutes a declaration of intent to grant it to the child? For example, if the parent says "this X is yours" or "this X is for you" or "your X is dirty", do any sources say that constitutes sufficient declaration of intent to grant the X to the child, so that the child need then only drag or lift the X (SA CM 200:2) in order to acquire it?

If not — if, in fact, the object remains the parent's property —

Or, in a case in which such acquisition has not occurred, and the object is, so far, the parent's property —

  • Is there any extent to which a parent-owned object assigned to the use of a specific child (again, whether a minor or a bar mitzva but assuming the child is dependent on and living with the parent) is considered that child's? That is, is there any halacha such that the object, although technically owned by the parents, is considered the child's for the purposes of that halacha?
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    Some potential relevant areas include lulav and tzedaka. – Double AA Jul 19 '12 at 2:00
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    The first days of Sukkot, you're supposed to give your lulav to someone else as a present, with the condition that he returns it to you afterwards. The books say not to do this to a child, because a child can acquire something, but can't give it to away to someone else. Since the lulav is supposed to be yours (at least the first 2 day in diaspora), this would prevent you from doing the mitzvah or letting anyone else do so. Following this train of thought would probably shed light on the issue. shemayisrael.co.il/dafyomi2/sukah/insites/su-dt-46.htm - Sukkah 46B – Menachem Jul 19 '12 at 2:02
  • @Menachem Note though that the question asked about children over 13 as well. – Double AA Jul 19 '12 at 3:06
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    @DoubleAA, Menachem, yes. One application I was thinking of for my second bullet point is: Something is considered a basis for muktze only if muktze was placed there by the owner of the potential basis. (Usually.) What if a 13-year-old placed muktze on "his" bed? But I didn't include it in the question as I didn't want its details to be addressed in an answer, preferring to stick to generalities. – msh210 Jul 19 '12 at 6:16
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    @shulem If they got his children's property, it might be because he has some sort of lien on it, not because it wasn't theirs. – Double AA May 7 '13 at 5:29

There is an extent to which a parent-owned object assigned to the use of a specific child is his, we give our children (and guests) Matzo on Pesach night which must belong to you see SA Horav OC Siman 454:9 and here then here in Mishnah Berurah 454:15 -even if they don't make a Kinyan (let's say we put it in their mouth)- they fulfilled their obligation.

Rambam in Hilchos Korban Pesach 5:7 writes that a Koton who became Bar Mitzvah between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheni has to bring a Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheni; but if they slaughtered the Korban Pesach (in Nissan) with the child in mind then he's exempt from Pesach Sheni. We see here that even though the child didn't make a Kinyan (there is no such requirement) he still had a Zechus in it.

See also Rambam Hilchos Michusrei Kaporo 3:6 and Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 3:17 about children bringing Korbonos.

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    If the matza trick works for guests too, then that seems to be more of a din in feeding guests than in a parent-child relationship. – Double AA May 8 '13 at 15:13
  • A possible citation (which I haven't checked) relevant to this answer: Rama EH 28:17 with nos'e kelim and Chochmas Sh'lomo. Ping @DoubleAA too. – msh210 May 12 '13 at 6:41

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