An Interesting Psak From Rav Chaim Kanievsky


kanievsky.thumbnail.jpgThe Hebrew Mishpacha newspaper reported on a story that occurred this past week that drew an interesting Psak from Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita.

A yeshiva bochur from Bnei Brak went to learn in a Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. He told his mother he was having a hard time getting used to the food being served and he was hungry. Being a mother, she decided to send him food from home.

The mother packed up a home cooked meal. His father took the package to the bus station, found the bus that goes to Yerushalayim and stuck the package of food in the luggage compartment under the bus. He called his son and told him when to expect the bus to arrive and that he should be waiting by the station in Yerushalayim to remove the food.

The plan worked, the Yeshiva Bochur got the food, satisfied his hunger and all was good.

The father was going to do this again and became concerned there might be a problem with this plan. He was concerned it might be considered Bassar She’nisalem Min Ha’ayin – meat that is left open in public and unsupervised is rabbinically considered not kosher because it might have been switched for non-kosher meat.

The father went to Rav Zilbershtein Shlita, a Rav in Bnei Brak, to ask if the meat is OK or not.

Rav Zilbershtein said the meat is fine as far as his concern of unsupervised meat goes. However, Rav Zilbershtein added, there might be a different problem that he is stealing from Egged by sticking the package under the bus without paying for the transport.

The father was shocked. He assumed it was OK because of the concept of Zeh Ne’he’ne V’zeh Lo Chasser – one person benefiting while not causing any loss to the other person.

Rav Zilbershetin suggested it does not qualify for the Zeh Ne’he’ne status because if it became public knowledge one could do this, many would send packages like that causing Egged a loss because the luggage compartment would be full with, theoretically, no room for luggage.

Rav Zilbershtein directed the question to his brother in law Hagoen Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita.

Rav Kanievsky considered the question and paskened that one would be prohibited from sending packages in this fashion unless he paid Egged for the service.

His logic was fairly simple – when you use a bus service for anything – either a trip or a delivery, you have to pay. If, however, a person traveling on the bus would be willing to take the package under his responsibility, then he would not have to pay. But just to stick it in the luggage compartment requires full payment. He also said the father has to pay for the packages he had already sent in this fashion.

(Thanks to Life In Israel Blog)


  1. Is this not a case of a man that has an appartment that he would and could rent out that there is therefore do din of zeh neneh vzeh lo chaser?

  2. I find the story amazing.If the bus driver was unaware of the package being on the bus,does that mean security is lax.Chas VeShalom could a bomb be placed on the bus the same way?

  3. I find it sad that this psak is considered interesting or newsworthy. Why would anyone think that they can use someone else’s bus as their free messenger service? Here in the US sending packages on a bus is common practice and is charged for (I think the Lakewood bus charges $8 or so to send packages).

    Am I missing something here?

  4. Someone with a bit of Erlichkeit would never even have a Shaaloh here. I’m afraid to say that someone with no exposure to Torah, even many who aren’t Jewish, would be shocked that someone would even think of abusing the Bus system in this way. I think there’s a larger issue here of making decisions based on what Halacha allows vs. what is right.

  5. Any body hear of the story w/The Chofetz Chaim how he gave somebody a letter to take to another shtetl and the went and ripped up a stamp because the postal service lost money on it?
    Here, Egged is actualy taking the package! Of course they should get paid.

  6. Hey listen up all you geniuses. Rav Zilbershtein – a huge Gadol in his own right – directed this question to his Brother-in-law Rav Kanievski, obviously there is much more than your ameratzish brains can understand. Do you think that the psak can be “obvious” to you and not Rav Zilbershtein?!

    Baruch Hash-m we have Gadolim like these to ask our Sheilos to.

  7. 2, 7, 8, 10: The chiddush, and the sad part of the story, is that we have been so involved in Yoreh De’ah that we have forgotten Choshen Mishpat.

    It is easy for us to be machmir on kashrus, Shabbos, and even Issurei Lashon Harah, but are we as machmir and considerate about someone else’s money?

  8. I had to read the article twice, because I though I was missing something. How sad is it that this is news? You have to ask a sheilo to a gadol hador to determine if it’s ok to getting “free” shipping services from Egged?

    What’s next week’s story? That its ossur to sneak on an Egged bus, even if most of the seats are empty?

  9. The part that’s most interesting is that this guy realized that it may be bassar shenisalaym min haayin, but had no clue that’s he’s ripping off Egged.

  10. I send packages regualarly from Monsey to Boro Park and they charge $10.00 per package. Seems like a lot of money for one package… same price as a person sitting in a seat! I’ve complained… to no avail. But even still… I’d feel like I was stealing if I didn’t pay.

  11. It’s interesting to note the difference in the requirement of paying (for the same package) “If, however, a person traveling on the bus would be willing to take the package under his responsibility, then he would not have to pay” This is probably the reason for the chidush – the same package, the same weight, etc.

  12. If I saw a car headed to my sons yeshiva in Yerushalyim and taped twenty sheqel to the roof, Could I then call my son in Yerushalyim and have him locate the car as it pulls into the parking lot and pick up his twenty sheqel?

    What if I taped the 20 Sheqel to the bottom of the seat of an egged bus?

    What if I taped it to the door of the luggage compartment?

    If Egged charges a seperate rate for packages then this is clearly unethical. Otherwise, it seems like a pretty good question.

  13. Here’s some “food for thought”:
    Isn’t it a problem keeping food under a bed on which a person is sleeping? I would assume the same applies when storing food under the bus when people are probably sleeping on top of it?
    How about putting food under a baby carriage/stroller and the baby falls asleep….?

  14. Hey, Yavnerd,
    Before you go insulting everyone here, why don’t you go find out what the other ‘tzad’, to think it was muttar, exactly was.

  15. we have to learn to tret many heterim as one way streets… the other person may use it, but not me.

    in this case, we should be willing to take the package for the father but the father because it is no xtra bother and therefore “ze neheneh…” but the father should not look to use the heter himself.

    I may believe that since the appartment next door to me is empty and not being rented out it wont hurt if i move in there myself since after all, “ze neheneh…” but I should never use that logic. on the other hand the landlord should be thinking that way.

    I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of the times that we apply heterim to ourselves we are being disenginious.

    it is not for nothing that Rav Pam Ztz”l used to say that one should always return “to’us akum” because most cases of “to’us akum” are really “gezel yisroel”

    Rav Zilbershtein obviously thought it was a good enough question to go to a rav greater than himself! Unless anyone who posted above is a gadol hador that we dont know about, please dont be so full of yourselves to think its such a simple question.
    Additionally, obviously the YW editors felt it was an interesting psak so by saying its “sad that this psak is considered interesting and newsworthy” you are insulting the editors of the very site which you are reading. Editors who no doubt are bnei torah and talmidei chachamim.
    We should all be so conscious about other peoples $ that we ask all of these type of questions of our rabbonim.
    how can we pray for mashiach to come if we cant even accept that our fellow jew might not know every single halacha that we do? he might not have learned as much as you? maybe he learned more and wanted to pose the question the gadol hador anyways?…
    the comments have gotten out of control lately. I think YW moderation panel needs to stop posting comments which reek of sinat chinam.

  17. NO 22
    I remember people aske the same shailoh about food in the luggage compartment on the way up to camp and being told that it is a seperate compartment so it is not a problem. Almost like another apartment; does the downstairs apartment have to worry that someone is sleeping on the floor upstairs which may be over his food?

  18. What is wrong with all you people that pasken on your own without consulting higher authority. When a case may seem obvious to you that the pesak would be prohibited may in fact be permissable when common sense tells you that its not. I will give you an example.
    A man was working for a company that paid for ALL his expenses. He was scheduled to book a taxi to JFK.His boss gave him $100 for the fare. About 1 hour before the taxi showed up his friend called him and asked him if he wanted a ride.He said sure. So the obvious question is ,does he have to return the money to his boss. To all you machmirim , you would probably return it, right? Well halachicly he can keep the money.Sound strange? The point is , we have a choshen mishpat and the laws of geneivoh are very complex.When common sense will tell you one thing, halacha will tell you another.

  19. time for my 2 cents:

    it is interesting because we all do things that we feel are OK to do – basically without a thought. the father never thought it (putting it in the compartment) would be an issue (with mpney), he was not concerned in the least with aspect of paying, not Chas v”Shalom with intentions to steal, but truthfully felt is was OK to do so. a Gadol looked at the issue and saw all sides of the situation and advised him, maybe you have another issue and he posed it to a R’Chaim who concurred -with a caveat.

    be honest folks — who while reading the question regarding the status of the meat even thought for a brief moment: “did he pay to put it in the compartment, is that an issue?”

    Perhaps he posed it to R’Chaim was to show him the importance of asking money questions and not just kashrus questions.

  20. Rav Mechel – Your comparison is lacking. If this person had given this food package to someone on the bus to give to his son, then it is comparable to your case (and probably muttar).

    This would be equivalent in your case to someone climbing into the trunk of the taxi without telling anyone.

  21. I thought it was a very interesting shayla. I learn new things every day. I would probably never have done such a thing but now I will defiantly not do such thing. Also…… to all those who are asking “whats the chiddush”.. the guy felt he was doing something wrong, asked a shayla and was saved from another עבירה all because הלכה meant something to him. I wonder how many times we do something wrong which we assume is ok and we don’t ask because we are to embarrassed to and then we end up being עובר on איסורים!! Remember, לא הבישן לומד!

  22. I think it was a great question. I think the chudish is that people are often concerned only with bein adam lamakom (i.e. Bassar She’nisalem Min Ha’ayin) and overlook bein adam l’chavaro (i.e. the man didn’t have a hava mena to ask about if it’s possibly stealing from egged.) The gadolim however consider all points. (Which is why they are gadolim.)

    By the way, I have seen other people do this on buses here in Israel.

    Another thing I have seen is two strangers getting together and buying a cheaper two way ticket and both using one half of the ticket (doing pamayim) rather than buying two separate more expensive one way tickets. Would be curious to know if that is mutter or not?

    A final note, I read the original article in the hebrew mishpacha this past week and this post above left out the end of the article which was a story that HaRav Kanievsky said happened to him once. He was on the bus and paying the fare to go the bnei brak and was so engrossed in Torah he missed his stop and only realized when he was already in Ramat Gan (a ticket to Ramat Gan costed slightly more). He asked the Chazon Ish, ZT”L if he had to pay the difference. The Chazon Ish poskened he did since even though it was an accident limasah egged provided the service of bringing a passenger to Ramat Gan.

  23. #5 -whats the chiddush that R’Chaim Kanievsky is giving a P’sak that you can not steal from Egged, Geneiva is a Lav to the person who is doing it without importance to whom one is stealing from. even if its stealing from a goy, theres one opinion that it’s assur..
    to those who brought story of Chofetz Chaim what the Chofetz Chaim did was midas Chasidus which would be equal after asking someone to take the food with them on the bus, then going and paying a ticket anyway.

  24. Gemorakop, I was not comparing it to that case. My point was that although common sense tells you one thing, Halachacly a different outcome could arise. Thats why never assume on your own no matter what your instinct tells you.

  25. One point that everyone seems to have missed- and because of this I don’t think the story was reported completely accurately- is that there is no heter of zeh nehne lechatchila. The sugya only applies bedieved- after one has already benefitted.

  26. It would not have occurred to me that sending food on a bus would be a problem is the bus driver allowed it; I would assume it’s OK and not against any company policy, were I to no know better after reading this psak.

    I think it’s very fair for one to assume Ze Nehene ViZe Lo Chaseir, and that given permission from the driver, it would be no problem.

    IMHO, it takes the insight of a gadol to determine that if this method becomes public knowledge, it would be problematic for the company so, therefore, it is Assur.

  27. wow what a thread….
    Number 1!@ was right on the money.
    and perhaps all the naysayers with thier common (but not din) sense dont fully grasp the concept of zeh nehneh v’zeh lo chuser


  29. Wow, some people are bored. Don’t you people have anything better to do than to sit here, insulting the people who posted the story, the people of the story and the people who comment on the story?

    Two things everyone should agree on:
    1. There obviously was a shailah about something, or else 1. the man wouldn’t have gone to R’Zilbershetin who in then wouldn’t have gone to R’ Kanievsky who obviously thought there was something there, since he gave a psak.

    2. If I quote correctly, this is the title of the article: “An Interesting Psak From Rav Chaim Kanievsky” According to one and all, interesting is a form of expressing one’s OPINION. You don’t like the fact that YW posted this as news, don’t come to the YW site anymore. But don’t say that they are wrong. To them it is interesting, to me it was interesting, it might not have been interesting for you, so then just forget about it.

    Don’t you think Moshiach will be brought quicker if instead of insulted everyone, we conquered sin’as chinam? Some people here, just took a limud, it opened many eyes to a halacha, and b’shmutzed it by being rude and snide. Please think carefully before posting things that might hurt a fellow yid in anyway.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I thought it was crazy how long these things get sometimes.

    This is not the first post to get such comments, nor, I fear, will it be the last. Try a bit harder, please, for our sakes.

  30. Steinway, it is a machlokes acharonim if the issur applies in situations where the food is not under a bed specifically.

    I have a sefer (a kuntrus really) called Kuntrus U’vlechtecha Baderech. He brings this shaalah, and has copious footnotes. If you can get hold of it, see perek 4, siman 4, footnote 30. In summary he comes out that it is muttar, with one of the reasons that it is not a proper bed.

  31. Let me see if I understand this correctly.

    The Rosh Yeshivah paskened your not allowed to steal from a bus company?

    It’s so sad to see people on this site looking at this as if it’s a chiddush in Torah.

    These are the same people that ask EL AL for a free return trip since the plane is going back to NYC anyway.

    What a shame that we have to waste the godols time with the narashkeit.

  32. I’m wondering if this shaylah really happened to begin with. Does anyone have the telephone number to the shamash? I would persoanlly call the Shamash.

    People love to quote things in the name of “daas torah” and most of the time the stuff being quoted is just full of lies.

    Many times there even signatures which are forged.

    I’m reallly wondering if this story ever happened.

    Does YW call Israel and speak to the source directly or is this fourth hand?

    Editors Note: We suggest you READ the first five words of the story. If needed, read it twice.

  33. In defense of many folks on this thread…

    1. Talmudei chachumim are accustomed to argue over halacha issues. Folks simply see it as an halacha a rambam and argue like they would when learning.
    Rabbi x: You heard about the interesting psak regarding the meat package on eged?
    Rabbi y: Nu, what’s the chiddush?
    And then it goes on and on and becomes a bit heated . So what? (Envision the guys using their thumbs and shouting a bit.. and smiling.

    Trying to ‘fit’ a rambam style argument into blogsphere style, doesn’t really cut it.

    2. Regarding our beloved YW editor(s). In this business (news, blogs, editorials, etc.), you need to take some heat. This has nothing to do with LH or halbones ponim. Nothing personal here. Folks simply express opinions that they hope would make this site more to their taste.
    The editors should be thankful for this.

    Thanks for letting us be heard.

  34. Interesting story – fascinating reaction. Perhaps we should all take heed from the tale, whether apocryphal or emes – that in our zeal to be scrupulous we can lose the forest for the trees – it took a Gadol to show that the story was not about kashrut – it was about simple behaviour and conduct to one’s neighbour (even if a corporate citizen).

  35. Talking about geneiva, what’s the hetter for all of you to post here during business hours on your company’s time? (I’m don l’kaf z’chus that you’re not being mevatel torah to do it during the evening, or chas v’chulila during seder).

    And me? I don’t need a hetter. I am the boss.

  36. My initial reaction was like everyone else’s- I’m not surprised at the psak in the least. What’s the question? No bus company in America would ever let someone get away with that.
    However, like others pointed out, if it was asked to the Gadol Hador, obviously there’s more to it.

  37. It’s so sad to see people on this site looking at this as if they know everything just because you know something doesn’t mean everyone else does. Turn the tables around when you won’t know something how will it feel then if they will talk to you like this?

  38. Can someone please explain to me the ‘gadlus’ of ripping up a stamp if you send a package with someone else? Seems like Ba’al Tashchus to me. If you don’t use a service, why would you pay for it? The postal service is a means to take packages for people and you pay them for that service. If someone else does it for you, like FedEx or UPS, you pay them. If a friend does it as a favor, you don’t pay anybody. I find it very hard to believe that the Chofetz Chaim would rip up a stamp assome people are insinuating.

  39. Rav Mechel: Thank you for bringing up that story. Now I will ask a shaaloh as I, too, get paid for traveling time and expenses and sometimes end up with a ride, which saves money and/or time. Until now, I’ve followed my seichel and didn’t bill my company for the times I didn’t have to pay for transportation. Now that you mentioned that psak, I will consult with a competent Rabbinical authority.

  40. What happens if someone gets irritated with the smell of the food, that is travelling solo!!! Do we proceed to dump the food and then refund the payment of its travel, or have someone eat it quickly so others can travel without the odour.