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Paying On Time1, Part 6

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[2] 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.

Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and

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