Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Returning Lost Objects Part 16*

Thus far we have discussed the laws of how an individual should deal with a lost item. How do these laws apply to institutions that cater to the public, such as synagogues and stores? Is the owner of the institution responsible to guard every item that is left in the vicinity?

The legal authorities write that such an institution has a right to make their own lost-and-found policy governing what will be done with objects left behind on their property. The owner may state that people enter his property on condition that anything they leave behind may be dealt with according to his judgment. It is common for institutions to have some kind of policy whereby anything left behind is placed in a lost-and-found room or cabinet for a certain amount of time. After that period, the owner may dispose of the item or do with it as he pleases.

In order for the policy to take effect, the institution must publicize it prominently so that everyone is aware of the rules. Further, it is preferable if the policy provides for someone to be responsible for asking a claimant for a simun. However, the institution is permitted to have a system whereby they allow claimants to reclaim the lost item without providing any proof.

There is another common question that arises in public places; On occasion it happens that a person comes to take his coat and sees that it was mistakenly taken by someone else. He sees the coat of the other person remaining on the hook. Is he allowed to take it in the interim before he informs the owner of the mistake? The authorities permit this because in such a case, it is customary for people not to mind if the other person uses theirs. Ideally any institution that has a coatroom where many coats are placed, should establish a switched coal policy. This should state that everyone gives permission to others to wear his coat in the eventuality that the wrong coat is taken. This policy should be posted in a public place.


*Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Basic Concepts and Laws
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Tightening the Hellenistic Screws: A History of Chanukah, Part I
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Smelling The Fragrance Of Hope
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

> The Meaning of Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Now More Than Ever!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Darkness and Light
Shlomo Katz - 5773

ArtScroll

The Light of Torah
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

G-d Willing!
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Caught Not Taught
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

As Long as the Candle is Burning
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Light of Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Build with Your Dreams
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Getting What You Pay For
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

A Celebration of Spiritual Victory
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Tower of Strength
Shlomo Katz - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information