Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim 5773
Parashat Hashavua: “…You Shall Place Before [the Rabbinical Courts]”Harav Yosef Carmel
As is our practice for Parashat Mishpatim, this week we will discuss some element of justice on which we put emphasis in our batei din, “Eretz Hemdah-Gazit.”
The Rambam (Mamrim 1:4) discusses the process by which the rabbinical courts were used to receive rulings on all sorts of matters and the halachic unity that emerged from the system. We will see segments from this unusually long paragraph: “When the Beit Din Hagadol existed, there was no [halachic] disagreement within
In contrast to this, in the contemporary central authority of the Chief Rabbinate’s Rabbinical Courts, which also contains a High Court, they decided not to create a system whereby decisions that are made are binding in all courts. While many important rulings (prominent among which are those of leading dayanim including our mentor, Harav Shaul Yisraeli) were compiled into several volumes of published rulings, these were not intended to serve as binding precedents. This is in contrast to the secular Court System of
In practice, the great majority of the Jewish population of
Our parasha starts with the words: “These are the statutes (implying, monetary laws) that you will place before them” (Shemot 21:1). This teaches us two things. 1) The first thing to be done after the giving of the Torah, turning Bnei Yisrael into a spiritually special nation, is to ensure a judicial system with set rules of behavior. Without this, the nation’s moral fiber will deteriorate. 2) “Placing before them” implies that it is not enough to just inform the people, but it is necessary to explain the laws to the people until it is like food that is well prepared and presented to be eaten at the table (see Rashi ad loc. in the name of Chazal).
It is crucial for our rabbinical courts to work with a proper level of transparency. Therefore at the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit courts, we have taken upon ourselves to develop consensuses on certain important matters and to present them before the public. On the Beit Din website, there are explanations of our policies regarding numerous important common issues including compromise, indirect damages, and use of hotza’ah lapo’al. We hope that such action will help return the rabbinical courts to regular use in our Jewish State.
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This edition of
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l