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May One Back Out of Sending His Child to Camp After He Committed?

By Rav Eliezer Cohen

 

Question: Camp Yad Hatorah had a successful registration season. They received many applications for the upcoming summer, which were submitted along with registration fees. A short while later, one parent called the camp office and said that they changed their minds and no longer wished to send their son to this particular camp. Does the camp have to allow them to back out?

 

Answer: The question we have to consider is whether submitting registration fees constitutes making a kinyan.

The halacha is that one cannot back out of a deal once a kinyan has been made. If one does, he has to pay in full. If no kinyan was made, one may back out. Although it is possible that the aggrieved party may have “ta’arumos”, complaints, against the reneging party, there is no monetary penalty.

With regards to hired workers, paying them part of their salary in advance is considered a kinyan kesef. There is a discussion amongst the Poskim whether paying a registration fee is also considered a kinyan or if it is just a safeguard to stop the applicant from backing out, but not an actual kinyan.

Since the matter is unclear, the halacha would be that the money remains with the “muchzik”, the party currently holding it, and the parents cannot be forced to pay the remainder of the camp fees. Of course, this would definitely be true if the checks for registration were postdated, in which case there certainly was no kinyan kesef. 

 

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This month’s shiur has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Avigdor Fried, in memory of שלמה בן אביגדור משה ז”ל, מלכה בת משה ע”ה, יצחק יעקב בן אליהו ז”ל, רבקה בת גבריאל חיים ע”ה

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