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Topic: Contracts Among Minors

[email protected] wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Recently, I became aware of a situation involving two elementary school aged children (each about 10 years old), in which one of them signed over to the other, in a written contract, his eternal reward. Is such a contract deemed valid, or is it nullified considering the young age of the participants?

Dear Eli Silberstein,

If it came down to actually judging this case, it would need to come before a "dayan" (Torah judge) in the presence of the two boys, or their representatives. I will merely offer some ideas to be used as a general guideline; and my answer is not to be thought of as a definitive ruling.

A cursory glance at the Shulchan Aruch implies very strongly that this contract is null and void due to the fact that the parties are minors. There are a few other reasons as well which would say that this contract is void.

However, I would advise you to try to have these boys annul the contract, regardless of its validity. The action of the seller, even though he is young, shows a lack of seriousness regarding his eternal reward; this attitude may become ingrained unless some action is taken now. This is an opportunity to correct him and explain to him that eternal reward is not something that is for sale.

Additionally, if he continues with the idea that the other person will take his eternal reward, then it won't faze him to commit sins or to abstain from doing mitzvot, as he thinks the other person will get his eternal reward.

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