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Returning Loans After A Falling Out



I have a few items a friend loaned me, and one that was left at my house by mistake (some books and a craft cutting mat). Some time ago, this friend made it clear they no longer wish to hear from me, and blocked my contact almost everywhere. They live significantly far away such that transport would be extremely difficult, and I dont see them on the street or at shule.

Asking for opinion not for psak. Would there be an obligation to return their things, even though that would require finding a way to communicate that they expressly do not want? Would I need to keep the things, in good condition, in case things change in the future? Could I eg use the mat which may cause it some wear-and-tear damage, or donate the books?

Who has rights/ownership now? Does someone asking someone else not to talk to them have halachic standing ben adam lechavero? What does halacha have to say about such a situation?




Items that were lent to you that are in your possession and under your responsibility, and have to be returned to their owner. This that the friend doesn’t want to talk to you anymore does not mean that they are relinquishing ownership to you. Aside from this, in general when someone gives you something you have to keep it in good condition, in order to return it to them as best as possible.

Even if you can’t contact the person, the items can be sent via UPS to the owner, and it shouldn’t be all that hard to find out their address. If you would like to save on the shipping cost, you can send the owner a text or e-mail from someone else’s phone or e-mail address, communicating that you want to return the loaned items, and if they don’t want them back, they should let you know. As a side point you can use the opportunity to try to appease the other person.)

As far as using the mat, it is hard to give you an answer since the person is upset with you, they might not want you to use their things, at this point.

Not wanting to talk with someone has certain ramifications in halacha, if possible the person should try to make up, as if it very possible that the person is violating the mitzva of lo tisna es achicha blvovecha, not to hate another Jew in your heart. However as stated above, it will not mean that the person is giving up ownership over the items that were lent beforehand.

Hashem should send a ruach of shalom to everyone.


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