Question:

Rabbi, I get a Mazal Tov! Six days ago my wife gave birth to a baby boy. He looks just like me and the bris will take place a day after tomorrow. So why am I writing you? Because I have nothing to wear to the bris.

Now, I know this sounds like what my wife will be saying tomorrow, or what an average teen-age girl says twice a day, but this is for real — I have no suit.

Exactly thirty days ago, before Pessach, my wife gave my suit in to the dry cleaners. When I came to pick it up they told me that they could not find it. They would search for it and we would be in touch. For Pessach I sort of got by, and I waited and waited. This dry cleaner has a policy – they will only reimburse the client for a lost item after thirty days from the loss. Now, my son’s bris is in two days and I need my suit – or a new one, but they will not reimburse me! They claim that Pessach does not count for the thirty days since everything was closed. I can’t find out right now what the accepted custom is here in the city. Do I have to buy a suit and pay for it myself, or are they obligated to reimburse me for my loss?

Answer:

Mazal Tov! May you have much nachas from this child and may he grow to Torah, mitzvos and maasim tovim!

I agree with you that Pesach should be counted in the thirty days. It is not the accepted custom in the country but rather that particular cleaner’s. In any case, the cleaners were obligated to pay you immediately. If they claim that they do not pay until after thirty days they must prove that it is the regular policy.

Sources:

See Choshem Mishpat 391:7 regarding one who loses another person’s item that he is obligated to pay for it immediately. See Iggros Moshe Choshen Mishpat part 1:76 regarding a practice that binds other businesses.

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