Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Can I Use This?
It is an often occurrence that while one may be perusing through a Beis Medrish and alike, they find a Sefer that finds their fancy. The only issue is that their Sefer of choice very clearly belongs to another person. Is it permitted to borrow another person's sefer without first asking them for permission?
A: The Shulchan Aruch rules that the assumption among the masses that an owner would be pleased to have others preform a mitzvah with their property does NOT apply to seforim. This is because, unlike other ritual objects, sefarim tend to tear and could easily get damaged during learning. The Mishna Brura 14:16, quoting the Pri Megadim rules in accordance with this view and prohiits borrowing any sefer, even for occasional use, without previously asking for permission.
Several Poskim (Aruch Hashulchan and others) nevertheless suggest that nowadays, when seforim are plentiful and inexpensive, we can assume that most owners will not object to others learning Torah from their seforim, especially if the sefer is used only occasionally. In addition, some poskim maintain that leaving a sefer in a shul or a yeshiva is an indication that the owner wants his sefer to be used by others to learn Torah.
* Adapted from Diyunei Halacha - The Daily Halacha Discussion