Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Where's My Esrog?!

One of my talented 12 year old grandsons, Avraham Kirshner, has just sent out his annual Maryles Family Newspaper to the family. There are 16 pages of interesting articles, Divrei Torah, stories, crossword puzzles and word games (having to do with the family), pictures, and recipes - all contributed by family members. 

One of the articles is a riddle about an event that actually happened. It asks an interesting Halachic question and leaves it unanswered. I thought that this year, I would offer it as a change of pace in lieu of my usual short D'var Torah. Does anyone know the correct answer? It follows:

Once upon a time in Israel, there was a Jew named Yekusiel Schwartz[1] who had purchased an expensive esrog a few days before Succos. How excited he was to have such a beautiful esrog for the upcoming holiday. However, one morning before Succos he had brought his esrog to shul, went to daven, and when he returned – NO ESROG! 

How distraught he was to have lost this precious fruit. To his chagrin, he had no recourse except to go buy yet another esrog for the upcoming holiday. 

After Succos, Yekusiel received a letter in the mail from his friend Nosson Spitzer[2]. Nosson wrote that he too was in Eretz Yisroel before Succos and had purchased an esrog.  But unlike Yekusiel, Nosson went to his family in the USA for Succos. 

Upon his return, he was surprised to find the name of his friend Yekusiel on the box. He had taken the wrong esrog home! He apologized for what he had done. And then proceeded to say that he would be happy to send the esrog back to the original owner. 

Although at this point (after Succos) the esrog was extraordinarily devalued (...they are sold by the pound, not by the piece) - Nosson explained that he does not need to pay Yekusiel the purchase price, he only needed to return the object that he mistakenly took. Obviously Yekusiel denied the offer – what could he do with an esrog after Succos? 

The question is: Is Nosson right? Does he not need to pay Yekusiel the full purchase price?

[1] Names have been changed to ensure privacy 
[2] Names have been changed to ensure privacy

Chag Sameach (...or Good Yom Tov - if you prefer)