I recently rented a bike for a few hours, and the person in charge of the rental told us that we have "X number of hours, and a 15 minute grace period," followed by the warning that if we don't return the bikes until after the grace period is over, we would have to pay a fine.

While it might not be the best idea, practically, would one be allowed to rely on that grace period lechatchila?

  • 1
    Why not ask the bikelord?
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 5:28
  • I can't do that anymore :P ....I'm asking what may be done, given this information. Is this information not enough?
    – MTL
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 5:30
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    I emailed this question to the proprietor of bdld.info, and he said, "Tough to answer these sorts of questions - they basically depend on the intent, and it can be difficult to find serious precedent for them. I always propose what one of the commenters did: ask."
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 14:48

4 Answers 4


I would have to agree with user13044 one could assume that the bike lord knows that some people would use the grace period. Whether or not the grace period is usable lichatchila or bidieved you are for sure responsible for the bike and would be considered renter of the bike. This would be similar to using your phone for a short while not on break at work that is not stealing as the company calculates that in.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya HahamG! I don't see what this answer adds, except a source-less claim about the permissibity of phone use on the job. Regarding that sort of activity, note Rambam Hilkhot Sekhirut 13:7. Additionaly, there might be a difference between using time for personal matters in a job which is not paid by the hour, and our case in which the rental is based purely on time.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 5:32

Let's start with Bava Metzia, ona'ah. This is interest on a loan, and verbal abuse.

Judaism generally deals with days, from my personal experience. There wasn't such a developed time system - before this position of the sun try to do this and definitely before the sun sets do this. Jewish Standard Time, Indian Standard Time, Irish Standard Time, and all the social conventions which allow us to maintain this relaxed human perspective that comes from 15 or so minutes grace period are so important with the introduction of accurate clocks.

When you rent something, you become responsible for it. For its damage, for its care - if its living you feed it, if it you still protect it. If you pay for the use of said property, there is a different level of responsibility.

We are now in the three weeks, and we are supposed to remember the destruction of the temple. Some of the explanations for its destruction are baseless hatred and not saying a bracha on learning Torah. One of the primary means of expressing baseless hatred is lashon hara, slander - but it also is encompassed by ona'ah - walking into a store with the intent not to buy anything, repeating a mistake verbally that another did.

Our words are very important. When you make an arrangement verbally with another, your words have to mean that you will fulfill them - you are probably wearing a kippah, and even if you aren't they can tell you're Jewish. Will G-d's name be slandered because you didn't keep to your arrangement? You agreed on a time, and then intended before the words left your lips not to keep to your words!!!

Yet Hashem himself is willing to erase his name in order to keep a marriage together. How could it be that your bike lender would be so upset over a few minutes unless he really needed the bike?

That is why I think our clocks, while important, shouldn't be the only ones dictating time. They are merely a tool in our houses for making sure we don't waste the time we were given.

  • Welcome Nathan "Bava Metzia, ona'ah" daf, amud please. citation. Can you summarize the answer in a couple of sentences ?
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 16:51
  • Keep to your words, and don't be too strict.
    – Nathan
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 17:28
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    Thanks for the welcome!!! Leviticus 25:17; Bava metzia 58b; Kidushin 32b; Torah Temimah, Vayikra 25:17; Maimonides Hil. De'ot 6:7 - sources gathered from link
    – Nathan
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 17:29
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    Very good. It is good to insert the reference in the body of the answer because the comments are cancelled sometimes.
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 18:45
  • You can still edit in the exact references to the answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 12:10

Your question is based on the assumption that the grace period given is only given to be used when it cant be avoided because of some unforeseen reason, "beshaas dochek". However the industry has most certainly included the idea that the grace period will be used a certain percentage of times. As such they lechatchila build into their pricing or their cost of doing business, so there is strong reason that it a case is zeh nehene vezeh lo chasar. Another answer is that it is muttar and i bleieve lechatchhila to be mafikia a chov owend to a non jew (public corporations included). Which means that unless the non jew is tovaya the yid to din and wins the case, one has no obligation or chov to the non jew. So even if there was klapai shmaya a chov on the renter because they intentionally used the grace period, they would not be mechuyav anything unless the rental car company was tovaya them to din and won the case before that there is no chiyuv.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Consider registering your account to maximize your usage of the site.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:25
  • "However the industry has most certainly included the idea that the grace period will be used a certain percentage of times" What do you mean that they "included the idea"? Are they aware it exists? Sure. Stores (at least in certain areas) might assume that a certain percentage of items will be stolen. Does that mean that just because they are aware of it, that that is not theft?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:26
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    "so there is strong reason that it a case is zeh nehene vezeh lo chasar" Whether or not they foresee that people will exploit them, they are still losing. A foreseeable loss is still a loss.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:27
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    Consider dejargonifying this, e.g. expressions like "beshaas dochek", "lechatchila", "zeh nehene vezeh lo chasar", "mafikia a chov", " tovaya the yid to din", "klapai shmaya a chov", and "no chiyuv". Not everyone has the same background as you.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:29

You cannot argue ownership of the grace period. It does not belong to you, you did not pay for it.

So, you cannot practically include it in your rental, you may not rely on it. The bikelord should specify the intent of the grace period to be perfectly clear you have not paid for it (eg. a courtesy for tourists unfamiliar with the area).

  • 4
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Do you have a source for this idea? Unfortunately, we can't just take your word for it, because we have no idea who you are. If so, please edit it in. Hope to see you around. :)
    – Scimonster
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 19:30
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    Who says you didn't pay for it? A grace period could be simply be there to avoid issues like "I'm just five seconds late" Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 19:06
  • The contract says you did not pay for a grace period. The contract says when you must return an item. The contract says what penalties are incurred for lateness. Grace periods are not part of a contract, they are courtesies, and not legally binding. Commented May 6, 2017 at 0:20

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