Pizza Partition


At Dan’s Designs they were working flat out in order to
reach the project deadline of 6 p.m. “No lunch break today,” said Dan, the
boss. The six workers asked the secretary to go out and buy pizza for them.
The secretary decided to buy a slice for herself as well. When she reached
the pizza shop, she noticed that a whole pizza pie (eight slices) cost 35
NIS, the same as seven slices. Obviously she bought a whole pie. On her way
back to the office she started thinking what to do with the additional
slice. Did it belong to all the workers jointly or just to her? What is the


Reuven sent Shimon to buy 10 kilos of apples, which have
a fixed price. Since the shopkeeper liked Shimon, he gave him an extra kilo.
To whom does the extra kilo belong? The Shulchan Oruch (Choshen
183:6) rules that Reuven and Shimon share the bonus. The Sema
(No. 18) explains that there are two factors involved in gaining the bonus –
Reuven’s money and Shimon’s relationship with the shopkeeper. Our Sages
therefore instituted that they should both share the reward.

Our case is different. Had the secretary only bought
pizza for the other workers and not for herself, she would only have had 30
NIS in her hand. Since this would not have been enough to purchase a whole
pie, no bonus slice would have been received. It was only the fact that she
added her own 5 NIS which enabled her to obtain a whole pie. Since it was
her money and her effort which gained the bonus, the entire extra
slice is hers. Even though it is true that without the others’ money she
would not have received the bonus, it is still clear that our Sages only
instituted sharing a bonus if it was earned by the agent as a result of his
action on behalf of his employers. Here the extra slice was gained as a
result of the secretary ordering an additional piece for herself.

What would have happened if the secretary had joined the
original group agreement to order pizza? This group would have 35 NIS at its
disposal, enough to buy a whole pie, Since this fact is well known, the
secretary is considered to have purchased a whole pie on behalf of the
entire group. They all share the extra slice. The same would apply if she
had bought pizza on behalf of a group of seven workers, not including
herself. If they specifically instruct her to buy at a shop which sells a
whole pie for that money, these workers certainly share the extra slice.
Furthermore, even if she took the initiative and went to a pizza shop which
sells a whole pie for this money, she would still not be entitled to the
extra slice. The money is her “employers’”; she did not put in any special
effort to gain the bonus. This would even apply if there is another pizza
shop closer by where a whole pie is more expensive, since anyone would
receive a whole pie for that amount of money, not only the agent.

Let us imagine that the secretary observed the hungry
looks on the workers’ faces when they were told that lunch break was
cancelled for the day. She offered to go and buy pizza for anyone who was
interested. Seven workers came forward, each one giving her 5 NIS. This
would have made her the agent of six individuals, rather than a group of
six. For just 5 NIS you are certainly not entitled to a bonus slice! If she
then took their money and bought a whole pie, the additional slice would all
be hers. The fact that she made no monetary contribution to the purchase is
irrelevant. No single shlichus (agency) can earn a bonus. Her own
initiative in putting the funds together gained the extra slice.

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