In the previous article, we discussed the laws of bal tolin as they relate to a craftsman. It should be noted that whilst bal tolin can often apply with a craftsman, if however, his work involves creating new merchandise then there is no bal tolin.
For example, if a tailor provides fabrics and makes custom suits, there is no bal tolin because the tailor is charging for the sale of his product rather than for his labor. If, the customer brings his own clothes for alterations, there is bal tolin because the tailor charges for his labor.
Bal tolin can also apply to rental fees. First, we will discuss rental of items, then we will look at rental of building space.
Rental of moveable items such as furniture, equipment, utensils, garments, vehicles and animals involves bal tolin, if the rent is charged at the end of the rental. If, however, the rent is charged in advance, there is no bal tolin. It is more common for rental companies to charge in advance, therefore, bal tolin will not apply. If, however payment was requested when the item is returned, then bal tolin will apply. Even in this instance, if the company accepts credit card payment, then bal tolin will not apply, because this shows that they do not request payment at the end of the rental period.
With regard to rental of building space, there is a dispute as to whether bal tolin applies, however, many authorities are strict. If rental payment is requested at the end of the set period (this is often at the end of the month), then there is no bal tolin for not paying at that time. However, if one delays payment beyond the usual five or seven day grace period he is subject to a rabbinical prohibition. If, however, he has still not paid at the end of the month, then many authorities hold he has transgressed bal tolin.
1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from “Halachos of Other People’s Money” by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. See earlier articles where credit card payments were discussed.
Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org
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