“Super Clever Parking”
A Moral Dilemma for the Shabbos Table

By Rabbi Yitzi Weiner

In this week’s Torah portion the Torah says “If you do what is just in His eyes” (Shemos, 15, 27). Our Sages teach that this is a reference to being just and honest in business. There is a prohibition against cheating others. There is also a prohibition against lying. (click HERE for stories about the mitzvah not to cheat others)

This leads us to the following interesting true dilemma

Mordechai was planning an overseas trip to London for two months. He lived in New York where there was a system of alternate side parking. This meant that every week he had to move his car to a different side of the street to accommodate for the street cleaning. He lived in an apartment building and didn’t have a driveway. Because of this, to make this trip, he would have to park his car in a parking garage which cost 20 dollars a day.

He came up with the following idea. He walked into a local small bank and asked the manager if he would be able to borrow $1000 dollars for two months. The manager answered that they didn’t have an account with him, but they could give the loan if he would post a collateral. Mordechai  answered that the only collateral he could give was his car. The manager agreed, and the bank kept the car in the bank parking lot for two months.

When Mordechai returned from his trip, he returned the $1000, paid $20 dollars in interest and retrieved his car. In this manner he parked his car in their lot and saved close to $1200 by doing this.
Was this practice permitted? Did he cheat the bank?
What do you think?

See Veharev Na Volume One page 232

Answer to last week’s question “Stealing the Neighbor’s Cookies”

Rav Zilberstein writes that the first owner was meyaish, gave up hope of ever getting to back, and so it should belong to the finder. He writes however that it is possible that the minhag, custom would require the finder to return it. See Chashukei Chemed Pesachim page 370 for further explanation.

Have a beautiful shabbos!

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