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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 22:02:09 -0500 (EST) Subject: RE: Collect Call--when you should NOT be a BAAL NEFESH There have been many more postings in V31 on the collect call issue. Allow me to address 5 points that have been raised and not yet answered. In particular while some people have softened their stand on my PERMITTING 'collect call' nevertheless they feel it is a violation of the 'spirit of the law'--I would like to show that sometimes the spirit of the law PROHIBITS people from abstaining from collect call!Here are the 5 points. THEFT is a crime of TRANSFERENCE of property while FRAUD is an INFORMATION crime. In other words THEFT with the owner knowing is still THEFT(eg Rambam Theft 1:3) As has already been correctly noted the issue in PAYMENT for a theft is not whether the thief benefited but whether the person stolen from normally would charge for what was stolen (Theft & Loss 3:9). FRAUD occurs when you TELL A PERSON SOMETHING that is not true about a sold item. PERMITTED DECEPTION occurs when there is OMISSION of pertinent information about the sold item (but no lie has been told). I again review the example from Rambam Sales 18:4 (and then respond to Bill Burstein) >>I (maliciously) destroy the outer shells of beans so that all my >beans should look alike and people should buy all of them (if I kept >the shells then buyers could recognize their cookability from the shells >and not all of them would sell). Although I have hurt the buyer by destroying >the shells and although I have hidden this information from him nevertheless >I am selling the bean "AS IS" and therefore it is permitted. (To answer Bill Burstein--in the collect call I am transparent when I tell the operator 'Let me know if so and so wants to accept a collect call' but I have hidden my intention of having them say no. This is no different than the above case where the bean is 'AS IS' but I have destroyed/hidden its shell which gives important information) Stan/Cynthia Tenen bring up the issue of how to education children. I will simply say that when I was growing up my father, Abraham Hendel, would frequently discuss fraud and theft in the Jewish community--he was quick not only to point out the wrong in the act but how their goals could have been met in a perfectly legal manner (My father is an accountant). In other words I was not only taught that theft was Divine and wrong but I was taught it was inefficient and stupid. By contrast if you bring children up in an ivory tower where all they hear about is ideals then they will not be able as effectively to cope with a real world & might rebel. Well if you are talking about people like Avi, Me or Stan (who live in an upper middle class neighborhoods) I have no problem with this. BUT.. I think it would be a chilul hashem to tell a person living in a less affluent neighborhood who has a dozen children and is just making ends meet that he should abstain. After all by ABSTAINING from a permissable action he may take away money that his family needs. There are always 2 sides to the coin.Aren't we obligated to tell him to play COLLECT CALL? One person cited Cal law that prohibits 'making arrangements to steal from the phone company'. Quite frankly I have not reviewed the notes to this law and don't know if it covers the collect call game. But even if it did, it frequently happens that what is prohibited in one state is permissable in other states. In fact many corporations make money that way. I hope this clarifies the new issues brought up in this discussion. Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; RHendel@Towson.Edu; Math http://www.shamash.org/rashi/