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Parsha Mitzvot-Mishpatim-Mitzvah 53 – Concept 525

“If a man shall give money or vessels to his fellow to safeguard, and it is stolen from the house of the man, if the thief is found he shall pay double. If the thief is not found, then the householder shall approach the court that he had not laid his hand upon his fellow’s property.” (Exodus 22:6-7) The Courts must carry out the laws of an unpaid guard. (Rambam, Hilchot Sh’eilah U’pikadon – The Laws of Borrowing and Depositing)

Our Sages (Bava Metzia 56) understand the phrase “to his fellow,” as excluding a situation where the item was deposited with the Temple Treasurer for safekeeping. The reason that such a Temple treasury is not liable for any damages is that there is no time when God Himself does not supervise everything entrusted to the Temple treasury. (Or Hachaim Hakadosh)

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