I need help with a halachic question! I loaned a valuable guitar to a friend’s daughter. I asked for it back many times in writing, but never got a reply. Yesterday, finally speaking on the phone she finally told me that it had been stolen! I asked when, and she told me – TWO years ago! I am sorry their house was robbed- however I cannot believe she never told me about my guitar! What is her responsibility. and what do I have the right to expect? This was a valuable instrument worth well over $1,000 . She and family are shomer Shabbat, observant Jews, but I am feeling very distrustful. I feel that at the very least, she had the responsibility to inform me of the loss immediately.

Answer:

It is very distracting that they didn’t inform you at once. To give them the benefit of the doubt, they might have been traumatized by the break in, and though they surely meant to inform you, things get forgotten, and later you begin to feel bad about calling to inform of an event that took place a while ago.

As for their liability, the friend who took it for his or her daughter is liable for replacing the guitar, since it was lent to them for use, giving them them the status of a sho’el who is liable for cases of theft.

Best wishes.

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