Business Halacha: Watching My Friend’s Bike and Ball

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bikeQuestion: A friend asked me to watch his bicycle, rollerblades, and basketball for the day. Must I keep them in the house, or can I leave them in the backyard or unlocked garage?

Answer: Each item must be watched in the customary manner for that item. Some items are typically left in an open yard, some in an enclosed area, some in the house, some in a locked cabinet, and some in a safe. Some food items need to be refrigerated and some do not (C.M. 291:13,15).

The customary manner varies with place and time (291:18). Thus, in one community it might suffice to leave the items in the backyard or unlocked garage, whereas in another it would be required to bring them into the house. Similarly, there can be a difference between day and night time.

If the guardian did not watch the item in the customary manner and it was stolen, it is considered as p’shia (negligence) and he is liable even if he was a shomer chinam (unpaid guardian). Even if he tends to be lax about his own possessions, this does not relieve him of guarding the entrusted item in the customary manner, unless he stipulated so (291:14,17).

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 ( and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.

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