Story LineCPR CourseRabbi Meir Orlean
The spiritual heights of the holidays were over, but they had left their imprint. Benny decided to work on weekends as a counselor for handicapped children. He applied to the Special Neshamos organization run by Mr. Hauser. After an initial interview and return of the application form, he was called back.
“It is likely that we will have a position for you,” Mr. Hauser said. “We need you to fill out additional forms before confirmation. Also, do you have CPR certification?”
“No,” replied Benny. “Do I need it?”
“We require that all our staff have First Aid/CPR/AED certification,” answered Mr. Hauser. “We arrange courses with the Red Cross for our prospective staff.”
“Do you cover the cost?” asked Benny.
“No, each person pays for himself directly to the Red Cross,” replied Mr. Hauser. “It’s $100. There is one starting in a week, if you’d like.”
Benny registered, took the course and received certification.
Two weeks later, Mr. Hauser called Benny. “We’ve had a very large number of excellent applicants,” he said. “We are not able to accommodate them all. We appreciate your qualifications and willingness to work but unfortunately cannot offer you a position.”
Benny was very disappointed. “I was looking forward to working with the children,” he said. “I was also counting on the additional income for the year.”
“I understand,” Mr. Hauser comforted him, “but the situation is that we cannot accept you.”
“You also made me spend $100 for the CPR course,” Benny complained. “It turned out to be a needless expense! At the least, you should compensate me for the cost of the course.”
“First of all, we never promised you a position,” replied Mr. Hauser. “Second, you gained the knowledge of the course.”
“But I would not have taken the course had you not told me that I needed it,” argued Benny. “Can I raise the issue with Rabbi Dayan?”
“Certainly,” said Mr. Hauser. “Let me know what he says.”
Benny called Rabbi Dayan. “Does Special Neshamos have to compensate me $100 for the course?” he asked.
“When you incur expenses based upon an arrangement with or the instructions of another, sometimes you are entitled to compensation if he does not follow through,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “For example, if two people arranged a court date in a distant city and one did not appear, he is liable for the travel expenses of his opponent. According to many authorities this is considered garmi, directly caused damage” (Rema, C.M. 14:5).
“Chavos Yair (#168) extrapolates from this to families from distant places who planned a wedding, but the chassan did not arrive at the appointed time,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “He is liable for the unnecessary wedding expenses that the kallah incurred, unless there was sufficient cause for his delay or absence” (Pischei Teshuvah, C.M. 14:15).
“Would this apply in our case?” asked Benny.
“Here, the organization is exempt for a few reasons,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “First, CPR training is of value for any person. Although most people take the course in the context of job requirements, many people take it for their edification and personal knowledge. At some point you may now be able to save a life! Thus, even had the organization misled you intentionally and instructed you to take the course unnecessarily, they would only be liable for partial compensation. The amount that the average person would spend for this knowledge is not a loss, and would be deducted” (see Sma 333:30).
“Moreover, Mr. Hauser never promised you a position or demanded that you take the course then,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “You knew that you needed confirmation and should have considered the possibility that you might not be accepted; you could have waited to take the course.
“Additionally, perhaps there was sincere intent to hire you, but due to the large number of candidates it was not possible, which could be considered sufficient cause. Therefore, they are exempt.”
From the BHI HotlineIllicit Use of Work Time
One of my employees made a significant sum of money using work time to invest in the stock market. When I heard about this, I claimed that his profits belong to me based on the principle of yad poel k’yad baal habayis — an employee’s hand is an extension of his employer’s hand. The employee offered to repay me for the unjustified salary he took while playing the market but insists that the stocks and earnings are his.
Q: Do I have any claim to his stock earnings?
A: Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 177:29, Levush) addresses the situation of Reuven who hires Shimon to manage his store and they agree to split the profits. In this arrangement Shimon is not permitted to buy and sell his own merchandise while working; an employee must give his full attention to the store. Attending to his personal business will distract him from properly managing the store. If he does sell his own merchandise during work hours, half of those profits belong to Reuven in accordance with their employment agreement that they will share profits earned during the hours that Shimon works for Reuven.
The above applies when the employee is expected to work for his employer the entire time. If the employee is hired to complete a task and the employer does not have any demands on the employee’s time, the employee may spend time pursuing his own interests. Each situation must be considered in light of the employer’s expectation of the employee’s work time (see Taz, Y.D. 177:44; Shach, Y.D. 177:67).
Accordingly, it would appear that when an employer does not permit employees to pursue their own interests, whatever the employee earns on his employer’s time would belong to the employer. However, based on the writings of the Poskim this is not the case.
When Reuven hires someone to find lost objects (for example, to collect fish from a dammed river), whatever the employee finds belongs to Reuven, even if unrelated to the dammed river (e.g., he finds a wallet). In contrast, if the job description is not specific, and certainly when the employee is hired to perform a particular task, lost objects that he finds belong to him (C.M. 270:3; Chut Hashani 38, cited by Pischei Teshuvah, C.M. 270:1). Found objects are not included in general job descriptions, since it is possible to earn a fortune from them in a short period of time (Rav Shimon Shkop, B.K. 20:2).
Similarly, in the case where Reuven hired Shimon to work in his store, if Shimon was expected to do all the jobs Reuven assigns to him, Shimon is an extension of Reuven. This is like partners who partnered for all business endeavors so that even if one of the partners uses his own funds, the profits generated by those funds are shared equally. On the other hand, if the partnership is limited to one specific pursuit, although neither partner may use partnership time for personal pursuits, one partner has no claim to profits made by the other in personal pursuits.
Accordingly, if Shimon was hired only to tend to the store and his job description does not include any jobs that Reuven gives him, Reuven has no claim to Shimon’s personal earnings generated during work time (Nesivos 176:20; Rei’ach Sadeh 13; see also Nesivos Shalom and Chelkas Binyamin to 177:29 who explain differently).
In your case, since Shimon’s job description was specific, although he should not have spent time pursuing personal interests (See Rambam, Sechirus 13:7 and Mesillas Yesharim ch. 11), Reuven has no claim to those earnings, beyond a refund for the hours he paid Shimon when he was buying and selling his own stocks (cf. Beis Yehudah, end of vol. 2).
Money mattersInheritance and Wills#429
Q: Does dina d’malchusa apply to laws of inheritance? What about civil wills that are not halachically valid?
A: Dina d’malchusa applies to laws that benefit the government or enable proper functioning of society. However, regarding laws that regulate matters between individuals and do not constitute a “common practice,” such as laws of inheritance, it is prohibited to rule according to civil law against Torah law, even if the judges are Jewish. If this were so, all monetary Torah laws would be null and void! (Responsa, Rashba 3:109; Shach 73:39; Rama 369:11; Pischei Choshen, Yerushah 1:2).
Nonetheless, often the halachic heirs agree to grant an inheritance to the remaining spouse or to divide it according to civil law. In cases where they demand their halachic share, there is a dispute whether the legal heirs can demand compensation for their signature to relinquish their legal claim (Pischei Choshen, Yerushah 1:4).
Furthermore, some authorities uphold secular wills based on mitzvah l’kayem divrei hameis, as mentioned in the inheritance series previously published (Achiezer 3:34; Igros Moshe, E.H. 1:104).