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Lost Object – who is responsible for replacing it


Yakira’s perspective (lender): Shevy asked around to see if anyone had a Raven’s jersey that she could borrow for Purim. I said that I did and she borrowed the jersey in March. Ravens season is in the fall, so we don’t really use the jerseys in the spring. When I realized in June that she had not given it back, I texted her and she responded “I gave it to someone to give back to you, did they not get it to you.” I said no. I sent her several texts but nothing happened. Eventually, she said that she called the school and that they said that it was there. I said I was working during the hours the school was open so I couldn’t get it so she said her mom would. Her mom never did. I sent her a lot more texts over the summer and she often did not respond to them. Eventually, she told me that they learned that everything from school was given to Goodwill. She said that as soon as her mom found out the cost of the jersey, she ran over to Goodwill but the shirt was not there. Shevy said her mom said that if she had known how much it was, she would’ve gone sooner. Since then, they have been asking for receipts and proof that the jersey really was so expensive. We don’t have receipts and even agreed that she could get something a little less expensive. After a while, I asked my mom to get involved and her mom said to ask a Rav. Our Rav suggested that we submit it to your organization.

Shevy’s perspective (borrower): Around two days before Purim, I asked around if anyone had a Raven’s jersey that I could borrow as a costume. Yakira told me that she had one, and that she would bring it to school the next day. I wasn’t aware of how expensive the short was at the time. I wore it on Purim, and brought it to school the next day in a 7-mile bag. I told Yakira that I had the shirt in the bag in the back of the classroom, and that she should go get it wouldn’t get thrown out or lost. She said that she didn’t need it at the moment, and she would get it when she wanted. It didn’t seem like it was so urgent that she needed it back. Four months later, she asked me for the jersey back, and I assumed that it was in the lost and found. On July 24th, I asked my mother to pick it up from the school office. She was very busy and wasn’t able to get to it for a couple of weeks. (My mother told me later that had she known the jersey was worth that much she would have dropped everything and gone to pick it up but at the time she didn’t place such a significance on it). Even though she didn’t get it right away, she called the high school office and asked if they could put it aside. They warned her that although they would put it aside, after a certain amount of time, everything would be given away. My mother forgot about it, and when she remembered, it was too late – they had already given everything away. Both my mother and I tried to track it down where everything had been taken to, but no one seemed to know. I felt bad because it had probably been thrown away by the janitors.


Answer from Horav Yosef Fleishman shllit”a.

The two people have differant versoins of the story, but in either case it was not returned Therefore the borrower has to replace it i.e. she needs to pay how much this was worth- taking into account the fact that it was used. Therefore its value is less than a new object-have to figure how much it was worth less for the lender and pay that amount



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  1. This is S’s father writing in with a few comments. Number one, I am surprised that the original names of the litigants were used. I would appreciate if you would redact this and change their names.

    We had never seen Y’s version of the story before now and there is a detail that our daughter mentioned several times with does not make it to either version of the story. According to S., this jersey did not belong to Y., but to Y.’s brother. We’ve corroborated this in conversations with Y.’s mother.

    We’ve yet to clarity whether Y. had Rshus to lend the jersey out in the first place.

    According to the family, this jersey is a replica of one worn by a player no longer associated with the team and who had not been with the team at the time the jersey was lent out (he was traded to another team before the 2016-2017 season. That means that in addition to its value as an “authentic licensed product” (as opposed to a cheap knock-off) it also has increased value as a discontinued item.

    Should Y. have been lending out an item of this value and if she did have permission to do so, would it not have been her responsibility to let S. know the true value of this object? And if she did not, was she Posheya in some way?

    There is also a point of contention here as to whether or not the jersey was returned. Y.’s version states that S. claimed to have given it to someone else and then proceeded to ignore all communication until it was too late. S.s version is that she put the jersey into a cubby in the classroom and notified Y. that it was there and that Y. indicated (as corroborated for us for the first time seeing her version) that “since it was the spring, there was no rush to get it back”

    Either scenario beg the question why so much time was allowed to pass before something was done given the value of the object involved. According to Shevy’s version, that the jersey was placed in a Mokum Meshumar and Y. knew about it and did not take it home, things are more consistent. Because Y. herself notes that since it was not football season there was no rush to bring it home.

    But according to Y.’s version, if S. was ignoring her calls, why did we not hear from her parents until the middle of summer? One would have thought this would have been cause for immediate concern?

    Does this situation not warrant having both parties present and the ability to cross examine them to see if there are any indications as to whose story is closer to the truth?

    Last point – More of a “Torah Hee ULilmod Ani Tzorech” – I am familiar with sugguyos that deal with a case where the Mafkid tells the Shomer the item is Kessef when it is actually Zahav. I seem to recall the halacha being that the Shomer’s liability is only to the value of what he/she believed to be watching.” Is this not the halacha Lemaaseh? If not, why? I would think this has immediate relevance to this case.

    1. I was of the impression that the first person presented both sides as she indicated-after this letter it seems not. Being that this is the case-the case has to be heard by a dayan who will hear both sides. I believe there is a beis din in Balt or if you want our beis din (with or w/o me) we can do by skype-but it needs both sides to be on at the same time
      Kesevo vechasemo tovo
      Yosef Fleischman

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