Sunday, December 13, 2009

Halachos of the Daf - Bava Basra 87

A Minor as a Shliach

A non-Jew cannot be made a shliach (agent), for any type of shlichus. Nor can a Jew be made a shliach for a non-Jew for any type of shlichus.

All Jewish men and women, and non-Jewish slaves and maidservants, may be used as a shliach. A deaf-mute, a deranged person and a minor (boy younger than 13, girl younger than 12), may not be made a shliach. Therefore if the father sent a minor to a store with a dollar and a flask in order to buy oil which costs 50 cents, and then the storekeeper measured for the child 50 cents worth of oil, and gave him 50 cents change, and on the way home, the child lost the flask of oil and the change, the storekeeper is liable to pay the father for the flask, oil and the 50 cents change.

The reason being, since the father only sent the child to the store to let the storekeeper know that he needs 50 cents worth of oil, and the father expected the storekeeper to send it with someone else. According to the Rema the storekeeper is liable to pay for the flask only if the storekeeper took the flask from the child and measured the oil. However if the storekeeper merely poured the oil into the flask which never left the child’s hands, then he does not have to pay for the flask.

The S”ma and others disagree. They maintain that the storekeeper is never liable for the flask, since by giving the flask to the child, the father essentially was mafkir it, and the storekeeper is not required to guard it. Rather the storekeeper is liable for the dollar (50 cents change, and 50 cents worth of oil), since he should have either sent back the dollars worth (the oil and change) with someone else, or waited until he met the father and then given him back the money. If the storekeeper gave back the dollar to the child, then he is not liable at all.