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Oct 29, 2007

interesting psak of the week

The Mishpacha newspaper (hebrew) reported on a story that occurred this past week that drew a psak from rav Chaim Kanievsky.

A yeshiva bachur from Bnei Brak went to learn in a yeshiva in Yerushalayim. He told his mother he was having a hard time getting used to the food being served and he was hungry. She decided to send him food from home.

The mother packed up a home cooked meal. His father took the package to the bus station, found the bus that goes to Yerushalayim and stuck the package of food in the luggage compartment under the bus. He called his son and told him when to expect the bus to arrive and that he should be waiting by the station in Yerushalayim to remove the food.

The plan worked, the kid got the food, satisfied his hunger and all was good.

The father was going to do this again and became concerned there might be a problem with this plan. He was concerned it might be considered bassar she'nisalem min ha'ayin - meat that is left open in public and unsupervised is rabbinically considered not kosher because it might have been switched for non-kosher meat.

The father went to Rav Zilbershtein, a Rav in Bnei Brak, to ask if the meat is ok or not. Rav Zilbershtein said the meat is fine as far as his concern of unsupervised meat goes. However, Rav Zilbershtein added, there might be a different problem that he is stealing from Egged by sticking the package under the bus without paying for the transport.

The father was shocked. He assumed it was ok because of the concept of zeh ne'he'ne v'zeh lo chasser - one person benefiting while not causing any loss to the other person.

Rav Zilbershetin suggested it does not qualify for the zeh ne'he'ne status because if it became public knowledge one could do this, many would send packages like that causing Egged a loss because the luggage compartment would be full with, theoretically, no room for luggage. Rav Zilbershtein directed the question to his brother in law Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

Rav Kanievsky considered the question and paskened that one would be prohibited from sending packages in this fashion unless he paid Egged for the service. His logic was fairly simple - when you use a bus service for anything - either a trip or a delivery, you have to pay. If, however, a person travellin on the bus would be willing to take the package under his responsibility, then he would not have to pay. But just to stick it in the luggage compartment requires full payment. He also said the father has to pay for the packages he had already sent in this fashion.


  1. And I was thinking the problem was "Chefetz Chashud".

  2. I thought that too at first, but if he dropped it off nobody would notice it and if kid met bus and took it off right away, again nobody would notice it....

  3. the idea of stealing from egged was exactly the question that had. 2 points for me.
    Besides that, it seems funny to me that the protaganist had an issue about the kashrus of the meat and not the stealing from egged.
    He was so sure, that he didn't have to pay, did he ask Egged? I think there is a subtle (or not so subtle) message here about priorities.

  4. Let's take a step back here. I think the kid needs some serious mussar. Mah pitom that "he was having a hard time getting used to the food being served and he was hungry"?

    What ever happened toפת במלך תאכל ומים במשורה תשתה...?

  5. Yishai Kohen-

    There's a famous understanding of that Mishnah (famous in the sense that I have heard it). The Mishnah is not to be understood as a directive, but rather בלשון בתמיה, i.e., "This is the way of Torah?!?"

    Although this is clearly not the pshat, it will do us well to remember that many (not all, but many) Tanaaim and Amoraim were very wealthy. There is even a Halacha that the Kohen Gadol needs to be greater than all other Kohanim in both חכמה and עושר, which casts some serious doubt as to how universally the Mishnah should be applied.

    The Mishnah is probably best understood as an extreme, that even if it comes to פת במלח (not במלך, royalty doesn't taste good on bread), one should not give up his Torah studies. Applying this to the present case, if the kid couldn't get any palatable food, he should make do with the bare necessities and not drop out of yeshiva.

  6. if it's a mehadrin bus, does it matter if the mom or dad loaded the package? would the mom have to put it in another section? does a man's peckel take priority over hers?

  7. Yoni,

    Look in the Mishneh Torah. That "understanding" is diametrically opposed to pshat and halacha.

    I'm not saying that wealth is bad. Clearly it isn't. But especially when you a bachur in yeshiva, you need to give up some of the comforts; otherwise, there's always the chance you'll go through life like a spoiled child.

    When I was in yeshiva, the food wasn't fantastic- to say the least. There also wasn't much of it. But it makes you appreciate what there is more and it teaches you midot- not to fight for that crumb.

    As to the spelling, my bad. I copied and pasted from a site after a quick search and didn't really pay attention. That's what happens when you work and post at the same time. When I become rich I'm sure it won't be such an issue...

  8. Pas b'melach is an ideal. very few of us (me not included) are on that level. Maybe the kid was an "istenis" of sorts. Maybe he was morrocan and was having a hard time enjoying sweet ashkenazy food. Maybe he was ashkenaz and was having a tough time with spcy sfardi food. When I was ina yeshiva there were always a few guys who ust did not like anything served ever. Fortunately for them they were wealthy enough to be able to eat out all the time. But if this kid does not like the food, I see nothing wrong with his parents sending him an occassional package of food.

    whats - as is generally the case, people are concerned with their frumkeit "bein adom la'makom," on the cheshbon of their "bein adam la'chaveiro".

  9. yk:

    What Mishneh Torah? (And since when in the Rambam the final voice in explaining pshat in a Mishnah?)

    Clearly the understanding I offered is not pshat (but it doesn't make it wrong, either). But I can't imagine how it could be against Halacha. Spending a life learning Torah without giving up creature comforts is not against Halacha (as I mentioned, many Tanaaim and Amoraim (maybe even most, but that's besides the point) were wealthy. I doubt they were violating any Halacha.

  10. YK (continued, I accidentally posted my last one prematurely):

    I don't think the point of the Mishnah was to teach middot. There are plenty of wealthy people with fine middot, and plenty of poor people without.

    Also, the Mishnah is not talking about giving up some comforts while in Yeshiva so you don't grow up spoiled rotten. It is talking about living a life of poverty as a part of a life of Torah. Whether this type of life is an ideal, as Rafi thinks, or is an "even if it comes to that" guideline, is open to interpretation.

    By the way, the point of the "understanding" I presented is, I think, that a life of Torah can also be one which is fully engaged in "olam hazeh", and that Judaism does not believe in the "give up all of your possessions" type of service. See, e.g., Rashi to B'midbar 6:11, esp. what is brought down in the name of ר' אלעזר הקפר.

  11. Yoni,

    משנה מסכת אבות פרק ו משנה ד: כך היא דרכה של תורה פת במלח תאכל ומים במשורה תשתה ועל הארץ תישן וחיי צער תחיה ובתורה אתה עמל....

    As to the Rambam, see the משנה תורה, הלכות תלמוד תורה ג:י"ב

    I can look in the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch too if you want. The idea is keeping perspective on what is important in life. See what the Rambam sayds about how much one should work and one should learn every day- not that most of us can do that- and not that he himself did (see his letter to the chochmei Lunel[?]).

    It isn't about giving up the pleasures of Olam Hazeh. It's about keeping a proper perspective on things. IMHO, CERTAINLY when a guy is in yeshiva, he should expect to give up many of the comforts that he might have enjoyed at home.

    In life, the penduluum swings. While in yeshiva, it should swing towards ruchniut and away from gashmiut because it WILL swing back once you get married and start a family.

  12. yes, but Yishai, thatis a self motivated goal. It is not for us to demand of him. Maybe this is a 16 year old yeshiva bachur just at the beginning of his studies. Should we already expect him to be ready for that? Isn't it something that has to be worked towards? You cannot just do "pas b'melech" the first day you are in yeshiva. It takes a very long time to get to that level, and most people (at least nowadays) never get there.

  13. Rafi,

    Please. Elul zman is all it takes to get used to the food. You make it sound like they put him on a starvation diet and when they did feed him, it was a bowl of watery broth and a slice of stale bread.

    He presumably goes home for Shabbat (or some Shabbatot) too. He sounds spoiled to me.

  14. maybe he is a spoiled brat. I don't know. Maybe he was not learning there Elul zman and just started. It does not matter to me.

  15. B"H I agree with Joe. (Once in a while that DOES happen. ;-) )

    I still think it could be a problem in the future, say if the kid is unable to pick it up on time.

  16. I love this story. It illustrates how Jews try to jew down their fellow Jews not to mention the whole world.

  17. Good grief. What does he think Egged is, a free parcel service?

  18. Rafi- You've made it to the big leagues. Your by-line was picked up by YeshivaWorld.(http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/11265/An+Interesting+Psak+From+Rav+Chaim+Kanievsky.html)
    What's next? vosizneias.com?
    Keep it up.
    Solly G.
    p.s. I thought you got it from them until they credited you.

  19. yes, it was nice of them to give me credit, though I did not get any hits from it because they would not actually link to the article....
    nu nu

  20. I'm surprised Egged didn't confiscate it and blow it up.


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