In the previous article, we discussed the laws of bal tolin as they relate
to a craftsman. It should be noted that whilst bal tolin can often apply
with a craftsman, if however, his work involves creating new merchandise
then there is no bal tolin.
For example, if a tailor provides fabrics and makes custom suits, there is
no bal tolin because the tailor is charging for the sale of his product
rather than for his labor. If, the customer brings his own clothes for
alterations, there is bal tolin because the tailor charges for his labor.
Bal tolin can also apply to rental fees. First, we will discuss rental of
items, then we will look at rental of building space.
Rental of moveable items such as furniture, equipment, utensils, garments,
vehicles and animals involves bal tolin, if the rent is charged at the end
of the rental. If, however, the rent is charged in advance, there is no bal
tolin. It is more common for rental companies to charge in advance,
therefore, bal tolin will not apply. If, however payment was requested when
the item is returned, then bal tolin will apply. Even in this instance, if
the company accepts credit card payment, then bal tolin will not apply,
because this shows that they do not request payment at the end of the rental
With regard to rental of building space, there is a dispute as to whether
bal tolin applies, however, many authorities are strict. If rental payment
is requested at the end of the set period (this is often at the end of the
month), then there is no bal tolin for not paying at that time. However, if
one delays payment beyond the usual five or seven day grace period he is
subject to a rabbinical prohibition. If, however, he has still not paid at
the end of the month, then many authorities hold he has transgressed bal tolin.
1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other
People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. See earlier articles where credit card payments were discussed.