An expert Gemara tutor came to a cheder to help struggling students whose parents asked for the service. One of the parents didn’t ask for the service but their child used the service. Do they have to pay?
- Halacha says that if someone receives unsolicited services, his obligation to pay depends on whether those services were needed. If they were anyways meant to be done (i.e. a field waiting to be planted), he must pay the lowest going rate. If not, he pays the worker’s expense (including minimum wage) or the price increase of the improved product, whichever is less (see issue 307 at length).
- Does a child need Torah learning like a barren field needs planting? Some rishonimsay he does, and if someone sees a child who needs Torah tutoring and he teaches him, the father must pay the tutor the going rate.1If, however, the child does not need tutoring, the father must only pay for whatever added benefit resulted from learning with a tutor.2 However, other rishonim argue3 that unless an explicit agreement was made, it is assumed that the tutor taught the child as a mitzva and not for pay.4 The same is true for any other mitzva-favor (e.g. watch a child for a few minutes).5Others offer a different reasoning since the father did not receive direct pleasure from the service (it was the son who received the service), and the father was only spared of a responsibility.6
- In Shulchan Aruch, the Rama7quotes both opinions. Since money can only extracted based on conclusive proof (hamotzi meichaveiro alav haraya) the parents cannot be forced to pay.8
- Some contemporary poskim say that nowadays when it is standard for tutors to charge, there is no need for a special agreement and it is assumed that he taught for pay (except when it’s clearly a favor).9Since in this case it was obviously done for compensation, the parents must pay. However, according to the second reasoning that the parents did not benefit, they are still exempt.
- Some write that since a school has the authority to administer a tutor to a struggling child, in such a situation the parents must pay the full amount.10
- מרדכי והגהות מרדכי ב”מ פרק האומנין סי’ תנ”ו, ע”פ דרכ”מ סי’ של”ד.
- ע”פ שו”ת יפה נוף סי’ ס”ז.
- שו”ת הרשב”א ח”א סי’ תרמ”ה.
- חו”מ סי’ של”ה ט”ז ד”ה וי”ח.
- משפט הפועלים פכ”ז הע’ ד’, ע”פ הגהות חכ’ שלמה סי’ קפ”ה ס”ה.
- ש”ך חו”מ סי’ של”ה סק”ג. וראה שער משפט סק”א.
- חו”מ שם ס”א.
- ט”ז שם. אך אם תופס ממונו יכול ליקח מהן כשיעור המגיע לו – פת”ש חו”מ שם סק”א, וראה גם שע”מ הנ”ל.
- פתחי חושן שכירות פ”ח הערה ס”ט. אך ראה משפטי חושן סי’ של”ה ביאורים סקכ”ט וציונים ע”ו שלדעת הש”ך שם סק”ג שטעם הרשב”א שפטור מלשלם הוא משום הנאה צדדית א”כ הה”נ בזה”ז.
- ראה משפטי חושן שם סק”ה באריכות.
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