More Discussions for this daf
1. How can I minor make use of his allowance at the grocer? 2. Holech and Tena'im

Rabbi Aharon Falk asked:

We find that a Katan can acquire, but he cannot give away his possessions.

If so, how can a grocer accept money from a child, who received an allowance or Chanukah gelt, to buy bubble gum? How can the Katan give him the money? Does the grocer have to worry about Gezeilah with such money?

Thank you for your help!

Rabbi Aharon Falk, Jerusalem, Israel

The Kollel replies:

The Gemara (Sukah, 46b) says that one should not give his Lulav to a Katan on the first day of Sukos, before he himself has performed the Mitzvah. The reason for this is that a Katan can acquire but he cannot cause others to acquire from him. Therefore, the person who gives his Lulav to a Katan before using it himself will not be able to perform his Mitzvah of Lulav, because he doesn't own it (and it is necessary to own one's Lulav on the first day).

On the other hand, the Gemara in Gitin (59a) says that a Katan who has reached the age of Pe'utos (roughly six) and understands the concept of buying and selling, has the power to acquire and cause others to acquire from him. This power was granted to him by the Chachamim so that he would be able to take care of himself if need be (see Rambam, Hilchos Mechirah 29:1,6).

How do we resolve these two Gemaras? The RAN says that the Gemara in Sukah is only referring to a very young Katan who has not reached the age of Pe'utos. If he is a more mature Katan one can give him his Lulav. The Ran explains that even the Katan's ability to acquire - not only from Hefker, but even when someone is giving the object to the Katan - is only Rabbinic. Therefore, the power that the Rabanan themselves granted a Katan to cause others to acquire is sufficient for the adult to be considered the owner of the Lulav and perform the Mitzvah. In other words, a Rabbinic Kinyan is enough to perform a Torah Mitzvah.

The RAMBAM, on the other hand, holds that the Gemara in Sukah is referring to all Ketanim, even older ones. The Rambam holds that a Katan's ability to acquire is from the Torah. Thus, his ability to cause others to acquire, granted to him by the Chachamim, will not satisfy the Torah Mitzvah of owning a Lulav.

The Halachah follows the opinion of the Rambam (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 658:6, and the Bi'ur Halachah there).

When it comes to buying bubble gum, however, everyone would agree that in the case of an older Katan the store owner can acquire the money from the Katan (at least Rabbinically). Your question, then, would only be for a very young Katan, under six.

I would not think that there is any problem of Gezeilah because the Katan is willingly giving his money to the store keeper. Technically, the money may still belong to the Katan; nevertheless, this is not Gezeilah.

Kol Tuv,

Yonasan Sigler

This is not a Psak Halachah