Using another’s Tallis without permission

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May one use another person’s Tallis without permission? [1]

It is permitted to use another person’s Tallis without asking his permission.[2] This however only applies if one is careful to abide by all the conditions to be listed below.[3] [Due to this, some Poskim[4] conclude that practically one should distance himself as much as possible from borrowing a Tallis without permission. Practically, if it is possible to ask the owner, one is to do so rather than borrow it without permission.[5] Some Poskim[6] conclude that today one may not borrow a Tallis unless one knows the owner, and knows for certain that he will not mind.[7] Surely, if one knows for certain that the owner is particular then it is forbidden to use it.[8]]

Folding the Tallis after its use:[9] If one found a folded Tallis and used it without asking permission, then he must refold it after using it and removing it from his body.[10] It is however not necessary to fold it in the same way that it was originally folded when taken and hence it suffices even if it is folded in another fashion.[11] On Shabbos, one is not required to refold a borrowed Tallis at all [even if he borrowed it without asking permission and it was originally found folded].[12]

Not to take the Tallis to a different area:[13] The borrowed Tallis may only be used in the area that it was left by the owner. One may not take it from that area to a different area, such as to take the Tallis from the Shul to his home or from the owner’s home to Shul [without his explicit permission]. This applies even if at the conclusion of one’s use of the Tallis he will return and place it back in the original area from which it was taken.[14]

How often may one borrow the Tallis?[15] It is only permitted to borrow a Tallis without permission on mere occasion. It is forbidden to borrow it on a steady basis.[16] [Some Poskim[17] rule that an occasion is defined as not more than one time in thirty days. Others[18] rule it is based on common estimation of when people consider it more than an occasion.]

Reciting a blessing on a borrowed Tallis:[19] When borrowing another person’s Tallis without permission one is not required to recite a blessing prior to wearing it.[20] Nevertheless, if one desires to say a blessing over it, he may do so.[21]

 

Summary:

It is permitted to use another person’s Tallis without asking his permission, if one is careful to abide by all the following conditions:

  1. If one found the Tallis folded he must refold it after using it. It is not necessary to fold it in the same way that it was found. On Shabbos, one is not required to refold it.
  2. The borrowed Tallis may only be used in the area that it was left by the owner.
  3. It is forbidden to borrow it on a steady basis.

[Even when the above conditions will be fulfilled, if it is possible to ask the owner, one is to do so rather than borrow it without permission. If one knows for certain that the owner is particular then it is forbidden to use it.]

When borrowing another person’s Tallis without permission one is not required to recite a blessing prior to wearing it, although if one desires to say a blessing over it, he may do so.

 

Q&A

May one borrow the Tallis during a time that the owner will need to use it?

No.

 

May one borrow the Tallis if it may tear or get damaged due to the crowd of people present?[22]

No.

 

May one borrow the Tallis if it he will sweat and get it wet?[23]

No.

 

May one borrow the Tallis to wear not for the sake of the Mitzvah?[24]

No.

 

If one borrowed a Tallis without permission and damaged it, must he pay the owner for the damages?

Negligence:[25] If the Tallis was damaged due to negligence then the borrower is obligated to pay for the damages.

Process of wearing: If the Tallis was damaged in the process of using it, such as it tore, then if he borrowed it with permission, he is exempt from damages.[26] This applies even if he borrowed it as a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir [although in such a case he does not fulfill the Mitzvah].[27] If however he borrowed it without permission [as stated above that doing so is allowed] then some Poskim[28] rule he is liable for all damages.[29] Others[30] however rule he is exempt from damages just like one who borrowed it with permission.

Not in process of wearing and no negligence: If he borrowed the Tallis without permission or not as a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir, then he is liable to pay for damages[31], although some Poskim[32] are lenient. If he borrowed the Tallis as a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir then he has the status of a Shomer Chinam[33] and is not liable unless it became damaged due to negligence.[34]

 

What is one to do if he switched Talleisim with another person?[35]

One may use the Tallis as if it were his until he is able to switch it back with the person who took his Tallis.[36]  Upon being asked to switch back one must do so.

 


[1] 14/9-11; Michaber 14/4; Ketzos Hashulchan 7/8

[2] 14/9; Michaber 14/4

The reason: This is not considered as if one is borrowing without permission, which renders one a thief [Gazlan], being that there is no worry that the borrowed item will get worn out [Kiluiy Karna], as one is only wearing it for a short amount of time and then returning it to him afterwards. Now, being this is the case, we apply the rule that a person is pleased that a Mitzvah be performed with his object when it does not incur him any loss. [Admur ibid; See also 437/7 regarding Bedikas Chametz; 586/5 regarding Shofar; 637/9 regarding Sukkah; 649/3 regarding the Daled Minim; Admur Choshen Mishpat Shiela Usichirus 5 and Metzia Upikadon 27; Kol Yaakov 691/36 regarding Megillah]

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule one may not borrow a Tallis without permission being it is not an obligation to wear a Tallis, and this allowance only applies to Tefillin and a Lulav. [Shulchan Hatahor 14/3] The Poskim negate his opinion. [Maharsham 1/29; Chazon Nachum 2/1; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1/6] See next footnotes for opinions that hold that today the above allowance no longer applies being that people are particular against others using their Tallis. Some Poskim rule the above allowance only applies if one found the Tallis in the shul or Beis Midrash, and not in a private area. [Aruch Hashulchan 14/12; Igros Moshe 5/20] However from Admur below “One may not take it from that area to a different area, such as to take the Tallis from the Shul to his home or from the owner’s home to Shul.” It is evident that even in a private area it may be used.

The law if one is already wearing a Tallis Katan: Some Poskim rule that if one is already wearing a Tallis Katan, he may not borrow the Tallis Gadol without permission. [Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 14]

[3] If one is not careful to abide by all the conditions then he transgresses the stealing prohibition.

[4] Kaf Hachaim 14/4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/9

[5] M”B ibid in name of Peri Megadim

[6] Ben Ish Chaiy Lech Licha 6; Aruch Hashulchan 14/11 leaves the above allowance in great question today; See Tzitz Eliezer 12/7; Igros Moshe 5/20

[7] The reason: As today there are many people that do mind when someone else uses their Tallis, myself included. [Ben Ish Chaiy ibid] This especially applies by a new Tallis and clean Tallis, in which case we see that people are particular. [Aruch Hashulchan ibid; Shulchan Hatahor 14/3] See Admur Choshen Mishpat Shiela Usichirus 5 regarding Sefarim that if minority of people are Makpid it is forbidden to borrow, and only if one knows for certain that no one is Makpid is it permitted.

[8] M”B 14/13

[9] 14/9; Michaber ibid

[10] The reason: As if he does not fold the Tallis the owner will be upset that the person borrowed it, and he will hence be considered like one who borrowed without permission, and is considered a thief. [ibid]

[11] Admur ibid; M”A 14/9; Beir Heiytiv 14/8

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is required to fold the Tallis in the same fashion that it was found. [M”B 14/15 based on P”M; M”B 25/53] The Kaf Hachaim 14/23 concludes that Lechatchila one is to fold it in the same fashion as it was found.

[12] Admur ibid; M”A ibid

The reason: See Admur 302/9 that folding a Tallis on Shabbos carries various limitations. Hence one can assume that the owner will not mind if one does not fold the Tallis, as he understands that it is Shabbos.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is required to fold the Tallis on Shabbos in a different fashion than it was found. [M”B 14/15; Kaf Hachaim 14/23]

[13] 14/10; M”A 14/7; Rashal in Taz 14/6; Olas Tamid 14/10; M”B 14/13

[14] The reason: As a person is not pleased that his belongings are removed from their designated area. [Admur ibid] The owner will hence be upset that the person borrowed it. [See Rama Choshen Mishpat 163 based on Kol Bo 116]

[15] 14/10; M”A 14/7; See also 637/10 regarding Sukkah

[16] The reason: As the owner may not desire that the person borrows the Tallis on a constant basis. [Admur ibid]

[17] Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 14

[18] Ashel Avraham Butchach 14

[19] 14/11 based on Michaber 14/4 as explained in M”A 14/8; So also rules: Toras Chaim Sofer 14/10; Kaf Hachaim 14/20; Az Nidbaru 6/44

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one may not say a blessing on a borrowed Tallis unless he actually owns it, as in their opinion a blessing may only be recited if one is obligated in the Mitzvah. [Mamar Mordechai 14/4 and Kaf Hachaim 14/14 according to Rambam and Michaber; Rashal ibid; Taz ibid; Chesed Lealafim 14/3; Mor Uketzia; See Reb Akiva Eiger ibid; M”B 14/11] In the Siddur of Admur it is evident that there are opinions that rule that one may not say a blessing on a borrowed Tallis unless it was explicitly given as a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir. [See Siddur Raskin p. 67] Others however rule that when one borrows the Tallis it is always considered a Matana Al Menas Lehachzir, and hence a blessing must be recited. [See Shach Choshen Mishpat 358/1; Birchas Habayis 37/23] Some conclude based on this, that one is to borrow the Tallis with explicit intent to not acquire it, and then not say a blessing according to all. [M”B 14/14 based on Derech Hachaim]

[20] The reason: As the owner is not aware that one has borrowed the Tallis and hence it is not relevant to say that it is considered as if the owner has given it to him as a present on condition to return [in which case a blessing is required]. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid; see other opinions stated above]

[21] The reason: As although he is not obligated in the Mitzvah, being the Tallis is not his, nevertheless this is no less than the ability of women to say a blessing over a Tallis, despite her not being obligated in the Mitzvah. [Admur 14/5; M”A 14/8]

[22] Kaf Hachaim 14/17

[23] Aruch Hashulchan 14/11

[24] Reb Akiva Eiger on M”A 14/8

[25] Choshen Mishpat 291/1 [regarding a Shomer Chinam, and certainly this would apply to a borrower in this case even if one holds according to the Machaneh Ephraim]

[26] Birkeiy Yosef 586/10; Halachos Ketanos 1/79; Shulchan Gavoa 586/8; Kaf Hachaim 586/25

The reason: As a borrower [Shoel] is only liable for all damages if the damages did not occur in the process of the normal use of the object. [Choshen Mishpat 340/1]

[27] See M”B 658/15; Michaber Choshen Mishpat 341/8 and Smeh 241/21 that he has the status of a Shomer Chinam; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 14 footnote 41

[28] Birkeiy Yosef 586/10 in name of Mahriy Malko 98; Shaareiy Teshuvah 586/2 [4]; See Kaf Hachaim 14/18 and 586/25

[29] As this has a status of “Shoel Shelo Midaas” in which case he is liable in all cases.

[30] Halachos Ketanos 1/79; Shulchan Gavoa 586/8; Beir Heiytiv 586/4; Sdei Chemed Daled Minim 9

[31] Orin Telisain 97 based on M”A 586/6 as he has a status of a borrower which is liable for even Onsin. [Choshen Mishpat 340/1]; See Sdei Chemed ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 9

[32] Machaneh Ephraim Nedarim 24 as the borrower receives no monetary benefit from the use of the Tallis and he thus does not have the status of a borrower in this regard.

[33] Michaber Choshen Mishpat 341/8 and Smeh 241/21

[34] Michaber 291/1

[35] Birchas Habayis 37/10

[36] The reason: Although we rule that when one switched an article with another it is forbidden to use it due to stealing [Admur Gzeila Ugineiva 30; Michaber C.M.136/2] nevertheless by a Tallis since we assume each person does not mind if the other uses his Tallis until they switch it back, therefore it is permitted. [ibid]

 

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