Business Halacha: Entrusted Items

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open-handQuestion: What are the basic rules of entrusted items?

Answer: There are four types of shomrim (guardians) for entrusted items: shomer chinam, shomer sachar, socher, and shoel (B.M. 93a).

A shomer chinam is a guardian who does not receive any payment or benefit for his service. He is responsible only for negligence (p’shia), but not for theft or natural loss (C.M. 291:1).

A shomer sachar is a guardian who receives payment or benefit for his service. He is responsible for negligence, theft and natural loss (geneivah va’aveidah), but not for uncontrollable circumstances (303:2-3).

A socher is a guardian who rents an item. He is responsible for the item the same as a shomer sachar, i.e, for negligence, theft and natural loss, but not for uncontrollable circumstances (307:1).

A shoel is a guardian who borrows an item without paying or giving benefit. He is responsible even for uncontrollable loss or damage (oness), and certainly for negligence, theft and natural loss. He is exempt only if the item died, broke or was damaged due to the course of normal usage (meisa machamas melacha) (340:1).

IY”H, we will discuss the details of these principles, and additional rules, obligations, and exemptions that apply to all guardians, in the coming months.

Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian

These articles are for learning purposes only and cannot be used for final halachic decision.

The Business Halacha email is a project of Business Halacha Institute (www.businesshalacha.com) and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.

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