Thursday, January 07, 2016

Carpool Conundrum

The purpose of this blog is to share it at the Shabbat table.....
Happy birthday to Marc in Marin! Wishing you a amazing year.

car in poolYesterday the following ethical question landed in my inbox:

You have a car pool where you alternate dropping off and picking up kids at school.

May one parent decide not to do carpool because their child is sick which means the other family is stuck running carpool when it is not their official day?

The sender was asking for Jewish or Talmudic approach.

What do you think?

Details to consider: they clearly made some kind of commitment to share the driving, and a schedule, but they probably did not sign a contract. Does a contract make a difference in this case? Is there a generally-accepted understanding in their community about what the carpool commitment entails?

While different cases may result in different answers, you may find it useful to know that the Talmud says that in general a verbal agreement is binding (unless the other party never really expected you to carry it out) and that renegging on an agreement is worthy of a curse (Baba Metzia 48b-49a).

So perhaps the question here is, what did they actually agree upon? What were the terms, explicit or implicit?

Looking forward to hearing the answers from your table.

Shabbat Shalom.

PS - This so-called "first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre" is perhaps a bon moment to dust off my open letter to the French People, inspired by Zola (NB - I also published an English translation).

"We owe to the Jews…a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all other wisdom and learning put together.” (ANSWER FOUND HERE)

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