Volume 48 Number 33
                    Produced: Thu Jun  2  5:28:38 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kevod HaBeriyot as Honor to Hashem
         [Mark Dratch]
Our "hot" Single-Use Camera (5)
         [Bernard Raab, David Riceman, Carl Singer, Tzvi Stein, Tzvi


From: <MSDratch@...> (Mark Dratch)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 08:15:08 EDT
Subject: Kevod HaBeriyot as Honor to Hashem

>      as has already been explained by another contributor, kovod
>      habrios does not mean respect for someone else. It means saving
>      **oneself** from acute embrrassment.

If we understand that kevod haberiyot is not a function of the person
(meaning that he/she deserves respect), but trather a function of the
Divine Image in which he/she was created, then there is no distinction
between self and other.  More from my article at the Orthodox Caucus

It is often suggested that kevod ha-beriyot is a function of man's
creation be-tzelem Elokim (in God's image).  This means that the respect
given to a person is not really meant for him at all but is, rather,
deference to God in Whose image he was created.  By grounding human
dignity in divine dignity, any affront to a human being is an affront to
God Himself.  This idea is given expression by the Torah's requirement
of expeditious burialwhen it instructs us not to leave a corpse hanging
over night, "for he that is hanged is a reproach to God. (Deuteronomy
21:23)" The Midrash explains metaphorically,

"There were once twin brothers who were identical in appearance.  One
was appointed king, while the other became a thief and was hanged.  When
people passed by and saw the criminal hanging they exclaimed, "The king
is hanging."[Midrash Tana'im to Deut. 21:23.  See also Rashi; Devarim
Rabbah 4:4: "When an icon [of the king] is paraded in front of people,
what do they say?  Give honor to the icon of the king. ]

The deceased is not buried out of any concern for his own dignity, but,
rather, because it reflects poorly on the honor of his identical twin

This concept is alluded to in its very formulation.  We speak of "kevod
ha-beriyot", lit., honor of the created, and not of kevod ha-adam (honor
of man), hinting that the honor is due to the created because of the
Creator.[Nahum Rakover, "Gadol Kevod ha-Beriyot: Kevod ha-Adam
ke-Erekh-Al" (Sifriyat ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri: Jerusalem, 1998), p. 18.]

Yet another source supports this position.  R. Akiva explains the
biblical verse, "And you shall love your friend as yourself (Lev.
19:18)" by positing, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your
friend."[Shabbat 31a] Now, if we were to evaluate this statement
carefully we might suggest that one who behaves in less than dignified
ways and allows himself to be disgraced by others may, in turn, disgrace
others.  After all, a corollary to R. Akiva's aphorism is "what is not
hateful to you, you can do to your friend."  However, the Midrash
prohibits such behavior, qualifying the first verse with another,

"This is the book of the generations of Man.  In the day that God
created man, in the likeness of God made He him (Gen. 5:1)."  R.
Tanhuma said, "If you do so, know who you are spurning, 'in the likeness
of God made He him'."[Bereishit Rabbah 24:7.  See also Yerushalmi,
Nedarim 9:4 and commentary of Penei Moshe, s.v., zeh sefer.]

It is important to note that the dignity offered here to the hanged is
not one that he personally deserves.  After all, he is a criminal who
has essentially forfeited his place in human society, as well as his
claim to dignity and respect.  Nevertheless, the Torah reminds us that
each human being, regardless of considerations of faith, race, station
in life, physical or mental capability or even religious or moral
standing, is entitled to some basic respect, as everyone is created in
God's image.  Even the corpse of an executed criminal is treated
respectfully.  Furthermore, since all human beings are created in God's
image - "Beloved is mankind who was created in God's image" - all human
beings, Jews and non-Jews alike, are worthy of respect.


Can a person waive his own kevod ha-beriyot?  Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik,
zt"l, who argues that kevod ha-beriyot is a function of the divine image
in which humans are created, says no and warns that one who does so
desecrates the tzelem Elokim in which he was created.  It is for this
reason, he states, that Jewish law asserts that "disgraced people are
disqualified to serve as witnesses"[Hil. Eidut 11:5] and "one who eats
in the marketplace is likened to a dog."[Kiddushin 40b] [Rabbi Joseph
Soloveitchik, "The Lonely Man of Faith," p. 13; and Yemei Zikaron,
p. 20] R. Abraham Isaac Kook also prohibited violation of one's own
human dignity, "Protecting [the respect] one rightfully deserves is not
a matter of arrogance.  On the contrary, there is a mitzvah to do so.
The opinion of the halakhic decisors is that it is prohibited to
relinquish kevod ha-beriyot even in the case of a mitzvah."[Mussar
Avikha (Jerusalem, 5731), ch. 3, 4 p. 73]

Mark Dratch


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 18:04:32 -0400
Subject: Our "hot" Single-Use Camera

>From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
>B. Raab wrote:
> > Assuming the situation is the same as single-use film cameras, I would
> > be surprised, however, if the clerk knew what you are talking about.
>That's the point.  The situation is NOT the same as a single-use film

I am sorry, but that seems to be just wrong. Like Avi, I also consulted
Reb Google and found the following statement, not authoritative, but I'd
bet is completely true:

from: http://cexx.org/dakota/

[Note: From what I see on the net, cexx.org is a site / group focused on
the reverse engineering and converting the Dakota Digital Camera from
single use to multiple use. Does not mean they are incorrect below, but
they do have a bias on the issue. Mod.]

"The Dakota Digital Camera is one of several inexpensive ($10.99 MSRP)
single-use digital cameras currently on the market in the US. <snip>
While they are sold with the intention that you return them at some
point for processing (they give you prints and a photo CD, but keep the
camera), there is nothing (no contract, rental agreement, deposit, etc.)
that actually requires you to return it--once you buy it, it's yours to
do with as you please."

>The single use FILM camera is basically a low quality, cheap to produce
>camera with film pre-installed.  Normally processing the film enforces
>this "single-use" characteristic as the camera is, in essence, broken
>open.  Some parts may be salvaged for re-use at marginal cost savings.
>The vendor's economic model is that the sale price of the camera covers
>its cost and additional profit will be made from processing -- some such
>cameras are even sold with pre-paid processing.

Actually, the vendor's economic model includes a substantial benefit from
reuse of the film camera. The model is identical to that of the digital
camera. From PC World magazine:

"Once the prints have been developed, Ritz/Wolf returns the camera to
Pure Digital for recycling. Much like the method for film disposables,
Pure Digital refurbishes each camera for resale."

>The "single-use digital" camera -- is single use in name only -- it can
>be used again and again and thus has residual value.  The vendor's
>economic model is based on this repeated re-use with some factor for
>loss.  Let's say the camera costs $100 to the vendor.  After five, $20
>rentals it has paid for itself (plus profits from the developing.)  To
>pay $20 for this $100 camera and convert for your personal use is
>clever, but I cannot see maneuvering around the theft issue.

It may feel like theft and smell like theft, but it is not theft. The
law (including halacha, AFAIK) does not require us to delve into the
vendor's business model. If he offers the product without restriction,
then it is a simple sale. Many items are sold below cost for a variety
of reasons, which we are not obligated to investigate.

>The clerk is a hapless middleman here who, as is pointed out, may not
>know what you're talking about.  The owner / vendor is the one to whom
>you should make the proposition.  "I will pay you $20 for this camera
>and I intend to keep it.  Is this transaction satisfactory to you and do
>you agree to it?"  If you have any qualms about the answer then the
>point is made.

Far from a "hapless middleman", the clerk is actually the "other party"
in the transaction. If the "owner/vendor" does not wish to rely on the
clerk's representation (probably a wise decision) he will put whatever
terms he wishes to convey on the product itself, in clear language.
Absent such language, the sale is a simple sale! I can assure you that
the "owner/vendor" does not expect (or want) his customers to be
contacting him with questions and propositions.

>Let's try another analogy.  I have a good camera (whatever that means)
>and I let you use it (perhaps for some charge that is clearly below the
>cost / value of the camera.)  It is my understanding that you will
>return the camera to me and pay me to process the pictures (digital,
>film, whatever.)  If you keep the camera what have you done?

Nothing illegal or immoral. Your "understanding" is not binding upon me
unless you communicate it to me and I agree to it BEFORE the
transaction.  You may believe in your own mind that we have an implied
agreement, but if I were you I wouldn't rely on it. Much money is
actually lost in this way by unwary individuals. Don't count on it!
Sometimes, even large companies are victimized by such carelessness, but
that is rare these days and I am certain that is not the case here. The
manufacturers are certainly aware of the potential for hacking into
their systems and are trying to design against this possibility, but at
least for now, they have decided to sell the cameras anyway without
restrictions. That is a clear and sober business decision which I for
one do not feel obliged to question.

Many years ago, when in-flight entertainment aboard airplanes was first
introduced, it was common for the flight attendants to announce that
passengers may "purchase" a headset for $2.00. (Yes $2.00!) At the time,
I had quite a collection of headsets, since I frequently did not return
my headset at the end of the flight, when they were collected. For many
years now, the announcement has been: "passengers may *rent* a
headset...." Since that change, I have always returned my headset. The
principle of "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) is accompanied by a
parallel principle of "caveat venditor", let the seller beware.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 09:02:45 -0400
Subject: Our "hot" Single-Use Camera

<Let's try another analogy.  I have a good camera (whatever that means)
and I let you use it (perhaps for some charge that is clearly below the
cost / value of the camera.)  It is my understanding that you will
return the camera to me and pay me to process the pictures (digital,
film, whatever.)  If you keep the camera what have you done?>

Do you pay sales tax on this camera? I don't think you would pay sales tax 
on a rental.

David Riceman 

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 09:59:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Our "hot" Single-Use Camera

When I rent a car I pay a tax -- whether it's a what we generically call
a "sales tax" or a tax on "goods and services" it's a tax.  But that's
not the point.

A purchase (is a contract) and involves a meeting of the minds between
buyer and seller agreeing to what is being purchased, any stipulations
re: condition of the item being purchased (I might warrant that the
watch keeps excellent time) and conditions of payment -- payable upon
receipt in cash, etc.

Renting a car usually involves a complex written contract re: usage,
damage, liability, etc.  But even without a complex written agreement,
if I have a sign on my lawn -- "rent this car for $20" and you say
"here's $20, can I have the car?" and I say, "Yes."  And you now keep
the car -- you've stolen it.  If you contend that I misunderstood you,
that's fine -- since we clearly did not have a meeting of the minds
there was no contract, no agreement and thus the car reverts back to me.
If you apply some measure of reasonableness, that too fails, because
it's unreasonable to sell a car for $20 -- just as it's unreasonable to
sell a $100 camera for $20.

The simplest test of our "single use camera" is that of the open
transaction.  Go to the business owner (not the indifferent clerk) and
clearly state what your intended transaction is -- "I wish to pay you
$20 for what you are calling the 'single-use digital camera' -- I intend
to keep the camera and I plan to convert it for my re-use -- I will not
be returning the camera to you nor will I use your processing services.
Do you agree to this transaction with me?"  If he or she says, "Yes",
then you have dealt honestly, if they say, "no", then there is "no

In contrast, think of these transactions.  (1) You go to a yard sale and
see a picture in a frame for $5.00.  You expertise tells you that the
frame is solid gold.  You pay the $5 and make a handsome profit.  (2) It
was your yard sale and you later find out about the gold frame that you
sold for $5.  On either side it's likely a valid transaction although

Our moral / halachic compass must tell us that misappropriating the
digital camera is wrong.  No amount of dreying will change that.
Converting the camera to multiple-use is clever, smart, ingenious -- but
taking it is still wrong.

We have the Chofetz Chaim as a store owner finding salt stuck to his
scale -- thus he may have short-weighted some of his customers -- his
response is to remunerate any and all possible customers.  That's the
halachic high ground.  Actually, the only halachic footing.  If someone
wants to drey around in an attempt to avoid the truth, and its
consequences, they are free to do so.

Searching for loopholes is probably very profitable in the legal
profession -- is it so also with halacha?

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 08:58:57 -0400
Subject: RE: Our "hot" Single-Use Camera

>During the seventies some books bought in Israel had a notice stamped on
>their inside that they were only for sale in Israel. (There were
>probably tax reasons probably books intended for export were subject to
>some type of manufacturor' excise tax.)  So then, if a wholesaler
>decided to sell the books on the "gray-market" and violate the condition
>stamped on the inside of the book would he lose ownership of the books
>and would the purchasers acquire title.

The book example is not comparable at all to the digital camera case.
In the book example, there is a law regarding exports being violated as
well as a clear written "condition" stamped on the book.  The camera has
no such law or condition.

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 08:55:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Our "hot" Single-Use Camera

>From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
>One might posit further, that even if you returned the camera to me --
>but took out the film or digital media and processed it elsewhere that
>you have violated the agreement.

Everyone keeps talking about a vague unwritten "agreement".  Let's not
lose sight of the fact that in reality there is no such agreement.
There is no fine print and there is no contract.  All references to a
so-called "agreement" relies on the assumption that just because the
company started this venture with a certain business model, there is
some implied contract that the consumer won't do anything to interfere
with that model.  It seems to be quite a stretch to make that
assumption, and I don't see where there would be any halachic mandate to
"bend over backwards" to make sure my buying habits fit a certain
business model.  If the business model is working for them, even with a
few customers not conforming to it, all fine and good.  If it's not
working because of too many customers not conforming, then it's a bad
business model and they should discontinue it.


End of Volume 48 Issue 33