In the past weeks we have discussed various ways of payment with regard to
the Mitzvos of bal tolin. This week, we will discuss whether one can fulfill
the Mitzvos by paying the worker in advance. Of course, one does not
transgress any Mitzvo by paying on time, because the worker agreed to
receive his payment early. The question is whether the Mitzvo to pay on
time is limited to paying at the end of the allotted time of work or can
also be fulfilled by paying early.
Many authorities rule that one loses the positive Mitzvo of paying on time
by paying early. When the great Rabbi, Chofetz Chaim would travel on a
wagon he was always careful to only pay the wagon driver at the end of the
journey. It is not clear as to whether he held that this was the actual law
or that he did it as a stringency. `
However, there is a way in which the employer can fulfill the Mitzvo even
when he pays early. He can stipulate at the time that he gives the money,
that he is not conveying the money to the worker until such time as it is due.
1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other
People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. He lived in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, and authored
numerous important works on Jewish law.