Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Yevamos 38: A Glitch in the Machinery

On this daf, we find some cases of monetary doubt. Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein brings a related story:

The machinery of a certain factory underwent a terrible malfunction during Chol Hamoed Pesach. Instead of baking cakes that were kosher for Pesach, several tons of cakes turned out to be chometz.

The owner of the factory consulted with his posek, who immediately ruled that he should burn the chometz. The owner did so, but afterward, he had a separate question: “My insurance is very good. If I explain what happened, the company will surely reimburse me for every penny’s worth of merchandise that had to be destroyed due to this unfortunate incident. But am I permitted to ask them for compensation? Although this would be a huge loss for me, isn’t it forbidden to derive benefit from chometz?”

When this question was presented to Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, he provided a clear ruling: “It is certainly permitted for this man to accept reimbursement from his insurance company if, according to their agreement, he has a right to it. He is merely demanding payment for his Pesach cakes getting ruined. In essence, he demands payment just like he would if the cakes had become inedible. Similarly, the owner of the factory can request reimbursement for the damages he suffered due to the malfunction of the machinery” (Chashukei Chemed).

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