Question:

A group of boys borrowed a ceramic cholent pot (crockpot) to make a cholent. Reuven is a member of that group and he volunteered to wash the pot for everyone. While he was washing it, it slipped and broke in the sink.
This is probably considered an ones for which a שואל is chayiv. My primary question is who needs to pay— Reuven who broke it, or all of the boys? Should Reuven lose out because he offered to help (and he was not careless)? Sources would be appreciated.

Answer:

The real question at hand is if we consider Reuven to be a poshaya- negligent, since the reason that the pot broke while it was in his hands was most probably because he wasn’t holding it carefully enough. If he indeed is a poshaya then everyone would have to chip in to pay the owner of the pot because they are chayiv to pay him even though they are not at fault at all. Reuven would then have to pay the others because if was poshaya he damaged their pot.

If however the truth is that Reuven was not negligent then everyone would have to pay the owner of the pot, and Reuven would not have to pay them.

Sources:

CH:M 340-1.

Tags: borrowing damages

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