Monday, November 19, 2012

The Taxi Question

Rochel from Monsey, learned in a seminary in Yerushalayim. Once a week she did chesed with a family who lived 20 minutes from the seminary. The taxi fare was approximately 50 Shekel.

Rochel appeared to be an innocent naive Bais Yakov girl. However growing up in a large family with brothers who were Yeshiva Bachurim, she learned not to be naïve. She actually was quite street smart.

On one chesed day she flagged down a taxi and told Moshe the driver, she had only dollars . He told her to hop in the car. Moshe said he would charge
 her a special low price of $70.00 for not using the meter.

During the car ride, Rochel pulled out a crisp new $100 bill. She played with the bill and made sure Moshe noticed it. Just before they arrived at the destination, Rochel slipped the $100.00  back In  her purse. She then asked Moshe to turn the lights on, claiming the bill fell out of her hands. After  searching for a while, she  asked him for a flashlight. He told her, he didn’t have one. She told him, she would run into the house  and  get one.
While she ran into the house, Moshe thought to himself , the $100 is
In the car, why wait. He drove off thinking that he made himself an additional $30.00. Moshe felt he was entitled to it  for the inconvenience of waiting the extra ½ a minute.

When Rochel came back to the Seminary , she proudly told her friends how she had managed to outsmart Moshe the ganev . Her madricha told her that she had to ask a  sheilo.

 a)  Does she have to track him down and pay $70.00 ( original amount
agreed to pay.)
 b)  Pay 50 shekel (the true value of the fare.)
 c)  Not necessary to track him. (He tried to cheat her twice and ran off.).

In this weeks parsha, we find Yackov & Lavan making a deal on how to
divide the sheep between themselves. At the time the deal was made, they
both knew the approximate statistic of what percentage each would end up with.  (let’s assume 50% each side)
Yackov put up the peeled rods and changed The  statistic to his favour. 
Had Lavan known this to happen, he would never have entered into
this deal.
The meforshim ask how can an ish tam do such a thing and cheat Uncle
The daas z’keinim mibalei tosfos answers. Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim
writes (18 – 27) Im novor tisboror v’im ikeish tispatol. (and with the
crooked you act perversely) Therefore Yackov had a right to  cheat
Lavan. The Likutei anshei sheim takes it a step further and says that
not only do you have a right to cheat an ikeish but you have a chiuv
and must do so.
                                      Halacha v’lo l’maaseh
In the case of this taxi driver, we can safely assume that he is an
Ikeish, and therefore we may or even must outsmart him. R. Yitzchok
Zilberstein shlita paskened that you definitely don’t have to chase after him
to pay.  

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