Sunday, March 3, 2013

A coatroom swap


I took the wrong coat from the shul coatroom, and when I came back mine was gone. May I wear the coat I took incorrectly, temporarily?

One who accidentally takes the wrong coat in shul, and then returns to find that his own coat is gone, may not continue to use the coat he took; perhaps a third party took his coat. Rather, one must seek the rightful owner of the coat he took. Further: Party A who used Party B's coat must offer to pay for that benefit, unless it turns out that Party B was using Party A's coat simultaneously.

It would be good for communities to implement a formal policy allowing people to use coats or boots taken by accident until the owner could be identified.

(Bava Basra 46a; Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 136:2; Aruch haShulchan Choshen Mishpat 136:2; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 5:9:7; Mishneh Halachos 5:276)

Have a great day,

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