Adam Mu’ad Le’olam – Accountability for Accidental Damage: The $6,000 Diamond Washed Down a 48-Story Drain!


London’s Evening Standard reported in July 2012 that a $77,000 bottle of cognac was accidentally broken by a wealthy patron at an exclusive club after he asked to study the bottle. The two-century-old brandy was scheduled to be included in a Guinness World Record-breaking cocktail later in the week.

In January 2006, the BBC reported that a forty-two-year-old regular visitor to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge tripped over an untied shoelace and broke three Chinese vases valued at over $400,000. Perhaps you have read about or experienced other such examples.

Should the breaker be liable? Why or why not? What is a person’s level of responsibility regarding other people’s property?

In this shiur we will examine key passages from the Talmud’s Bava Kama, the main source for Jewish Law of damages, and we will explore the extent of human responsibility.


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