Neither a Borrower nor a Breaker Be…

Question: A friend of ours borrowed an item of ours for a couple of months. During normal use, the item broke to the point where it cannot be repaired. Does she have to replace it, or is it up to us to replace it, seeing as it broke in the normal course of use?


A sho'el (borrower) is not responsible for damage that occurs in the normal course of use. The owner has given the borrower permission to use the item in a normal fashion and if it could not stand normal usage, the loss is the lender’s. Although a borrower is responsible for any and all accidents that occur to the borrowed item, if it cannot withstand normal use, the lender is viewed as having facilitated the breakdown by lending the item for a use that it could not withstand. The borrower is not liable for the lender’s negligence. Therefore, if the woman claims that it broke in the course of normal use and you, the lender, believe her, she is free of liability. If you doubt her story, the case has to be evaluated by a dayan.

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