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Doctored Appointment

Written by הרב דניאל קירש, 14/6/2019

"רפא נא "

Doctored Appointment

Shimon had hoped that the pain in his back would resolve on its own, but after weeks of waiting, the problem had only gotten worse. After his general doctor ruled out everything he could think of, without coming up with a solution, Shimon decided to try something else.

After asking around, Shimon heard about Dr. Kahn, a specialist in back pain relief. Dr. Kahn treated patients in the comfort of their own homes, for the sizable sum of 500 shekel. Although it was no small amount of money, Shimon decided that it was worth booking an appointment.

As Shimon was leaving synagogue, he excitedly told his friend, David, about his appointment later that day. Shimon animatedly described Dr. Kahn’s treatment methods, and the reputation he had developed for making back pain go away for good.

Right on schedule, Shimon heard a knock on his door. Shimon eagerly welcomed Dr. Kahn inside. Within minutes, Dr. Kahn had completed his treatment. Shimon’s back was relieved of pressure, and his wallet was relieved of its contents. With that, Dr. Kahn wished Shimon well, and headed for the door.

Shimon closed the door behind Dr. Kahn. Suddenly, something caught Shimon’s eye. He turned in the direction of the window. There was his friend, David, with whom Shimon had spoken that morning. David was standing next to his son. Shimon listened through the window, as David explained to Dr. Kahn that David’s son was suffering from back pain. “Could you do me a favor and see if you can help him feel better?”

Dr. Kahn immediately began to treat David’s son. David thanked Dr. Kahn profusely, and the doctor walked away. As David turned to leave, he was suddenly accosted by Shimon.

“That’s some chutzpa you have!” Shimon hissed. “Here, I paid all this money for an appointment with Dr. Kahn, and you just piggy backed on me, and got free services. The least you could do is split the cost of my appointment!”

“Shimon, I’m not sure what this has to do with you.” David retorted. “You brought Dr. Kahn here for your own benefit. Why should I have to pay for your appointment?”

Answer of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l:

David is not obligated to share in the cost, at all. Does Shimon own the doctor, simply because Shimon paid Dr. Kahn to come to his house?

The rule is that if one person benefits from another, without causing any loss to the one from whom he is benefiting, the beneficiary is not obligated to pay. Therefore, if a person used the property of another without permission, the user is not obligated to pay the owner, as long as the user did not cause any loss to the owner.

In our case, David did not even benefit from Shimon’s property, because Shimon is not the owner of the doctor.

In summary: David does not have to contribute toward Shimon’s payment to Dr. Kahn.

(התשובה לקוחה מהספר ועלהו לא יבול חלק ב', עמ' שנ"ה. התשובה נכתבה על ידי הגרש"ז אוירבך לגאון הרב דב ליאור שליט"א לפני כחמישים שנה. שאלנו את הגר"ד ליאור כעת לאחר כחמישים שנה אם לדעתו ראוי שדוד ישלם. הוא השיב שמכיוון שנהנה ראוי שישלם כעשרה אחוזים.)


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