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Tuition obligation during a pandemic


Chashuvah Dayanim,
My son is 19 yrs old and goes to a new yeshiva bais medrash usually from 10:00 – 5:30.
The yeshiva has 8 bochurim and is completing its first year.
Tuition for me is $800/month.
Since about the end of March or the beginning of April (whenever the yeshivos shut down due to covid-19) they have been closed.
They started up zoom shiurim:
On the computer with video and audio 10 -12noon. = 2 hours
On the phone 2:00-3:00 bekius = 1 hour
On the computer with video and audio 4:300 -5:30. = 1 hour
Total = 4 hours a day
Before Covid they had over the day 5 ½ hours a day of shiurim. They also were given 3 meals a day.
My son has had attention deficit issues all his life and is a classic ADHD person. He is an extremely intense, easily irritated individual.
We try to get him to participate in the shiurim, but he has no patience for the 2 later shiurim and usually only stays on the first shiur for 1.25 hours at most.
He claims the shiurim are way less interesting doing them in this fashion, it’s not like in person where he did participate.
Now the yeshiva has called me for the full tuition for April & May. They say I committed to it at the beginning of the year.
I contended I committed for it with a full functioning yeshiva which my son wanted to go to and did.
They said they disagree but at least Nissan I should pay because that would have bein hazmanim anyway. I said I’d pay Nissan and immediately sent in the full amount for April. But why must I pay full tuition for a yeshiva functioning at half- mast in a different fashion and one that my son really doesn’t want to attend. And that we can’t get him to attend.
I offered half the amount which they didn’t agree with and even that I think is overpaying. What are your thoughts?
Doesn’t it fall into the rule of Nistachpah Sadeihu? Especially since I am the muchzik on the money?
Awaiting your answer,


Answer by Horav Y. Fleishman shlit”a

The yeshiva should come to some type of compromise with you since they are not offering what they committed to. However, you also can’t expect to pay nothing. When the yeshivas were completely closed the batei dinim ruled that parents should pay half-you are in a special situation with your son’s needs, plus the yeshiva does have significant savings. Therefore, the two of you should try to work something out. I would suggest perhaps 60% but can’t force anyone since this is not a seif in Shulchan Aruch, it is a specific case and requires your agreement or go to beis din.

Best wishes


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