“The Starved Bunny”
A Moral Dilemma for the Shabbos Table
By Rabbi Yitzi Weiner
In this week’s Torah portion the Torah talks about many of the laws of damages. There is a Torah mitzva to pay for damage that one has caused. The halacha is that if one causes damage indirectly he is generally not liable to pay. But if one was asked to watch something and they were negligent, then he is generally obligated to pay.
This brings us to the following true dilemma.
Sara had a pet bunny rabbit. She was very close with it and the rabbit meant a lot to her. She named her rabbit Hindy. Sara planned to go on a trip to Israel with her family. Before she left she asked her friend Rachel if she would be able to come over once a day to feed the rabbit. Rachel readily agreed.
Sara went away for the trip and had a great time. When she returned home however and went to her room, she found her rabbit Hindy, still and lifeless. It had died.
It was clear that Rachel forgot to feed the rabbit.
Sara called Rachel up. “What happened, how come you didn’t feet my rabbit”
“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry”, said Rachel.
“I think you should buy me a new rabbit. You killed this one”, Sara demanded.
“I am so sorry about your rabbit but I didn’t kill it directly”, Rachel responded.
“No, you were asked to care for it once a day. And you were negligent. You should buy me a new one”.
The two friends could not agree.
Who do you think is correct?
Answer to last week’s question, “The High Pressure Hagba”
Rabbi Zilbersten writes that the Gabai did the wrong thing, but he is not obligated to pay for the damage. This is because Ari should not have listened to the Gabai. See Veharev Na Volume Three page 322
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