Condolences to Philip Chester and family on the passing of his mother.

Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:19 pm and ends on Saturday night at 9:19 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Mishpatim and Shabbat Mevarchim Adar I. Rosh Chodesh is on Tuesday & Wednesday.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess for the summer. We look forward to opening up when people return to their offices and we have sufficient numbers. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1.20pm at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St – and via zoom. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Ezra May. The Torah portion of Mishpatim deals primarily with civil laws including the laws of torts (damages). One category of damages that one is liable to compensate the damaged party for is fire (Shmot 22:5).

A (relatively) modern question is: if a fire burns down a house on which the owner has an insurance policy, is the person who lit the fire still responsible to pay for the damages?

The Ohr Someyach (Sechirus 7:1) and Maharsham (4:7) maintain that the fact that the homeowner has an insurance policy does not in any way eliminate the obligation of the person who lit the fire to reimburse him for the damage that his fire caused. And if thereby the homeowner ends being compensated twice by both the damager and by the insurance company, this is his benefit due to the separate business arrangement he made with the insurance company.

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman (Kovetz Shiurim Kesuvos 217), based on an understanding of a ruling of the Rambam, writes that the person who lit the fire is always obligated to pay for the damage caused by his fire. However, the compensation is paid not to the homeowner, but to the insurance company to reimburse them for the money that they are required to pay to the homeowner in fulfillment of the insurance policy.

Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman (Ayeles HaShachar Vayikra 24:21) argues on both these views. He states it is illogical for a homeowner to profit by being compensated twice and since the insurance company is already repaying the homeowner, the person who lit the fire is exempt from doing so. The damager is also not liable to reimburse the insurance company, as the damage that he caused them is only indirect – and according to Torah law a person is only required to pay for direct damage that he causes.

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