The taste of Shabbat – Parshat Mishpatim 5776
Rav Mordechai Elon
The Torah spoke of four guards…
The third reading, shlishi, of our parsha continues the laws of damages between man and his fellow. In it we find the laws of borrowers and guards, about which we shall write this week, in order to learn something about ourselves, how we guard, and sometimes how we cause damage..
Four types of guards are described in the Torah, some written directly, and some are learnt via the Oral Law. The unpaid guard, the hired guard, the hirer and the borrower. Each one has its own unique laws relating to obligations and liability in case of loss or damage. The common denominator between them is that they hold a certain amount of responsibility for looking after the deposited item, and when the item is damaged because exceptional negligence by the guard, he must reimburse the owner.