Q. Two friends who daven in the same shul are competing to acquire a High Holidays front seat, that for x reason they are both entitled to. They decided between them to flip a coin. But after the coin was in the air and the side of the coin was chosen and called, the tosser missed catching the coin and it fell on the floor. The looser claimed that this is not the correct procedure and the coin should be flipped again. Does he have a claim?
A. Talmud (Bava Basra 106b) derives from the goral or the casting of lots performed when the land of Eretz Yisroel was divided, that similar methods could be used for the division of properties owned by partners or heirs.
Chavas Yoir (61) Sdei Chemed (K’lalim 3: 14) and others maintain that when the goral is performed properly and with honesty, the raffle is irrevocable and it is most powerful. They compare the one who denies its effectiveness and validity. to one who denies the Ten Commandments
The Talmud discusses how a raffle works. At first, compares it to the division of Eretz Yisrael by Yehoshua Bin Nun, although in that scenario there were also the Urim V’Tumim, which was a form of prophecy. Ultimately, the Gemara suggests that it is because there is a mutual benefit to the parties thus there is assumed agreement to the outcome.
In our particular case. since it was agreed by both parties to rely on the tossing of a coin, it takes effect and the participants cannot back up on their agreement.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that the fact that the coin fell on the floor instead of being cached by hand, does not cancel the coin-flip, unless it was so stipulated, since if the case was reversed, the now wining party, would likely accept it.
Often, in public ball games and sports, the official tossing of the coin is done by letting the coin fall to floor, as it is more visible. (Wikipedia). It is also less likely to be affected by hand-trickery and deception.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a