Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh| 5766
We will be taking a break from thenormal format of P’ninat Mishpat to discuss an important, related matter.
Eretz Hemdah is an institution that is centered around a kollel for the study of Jewish civil and family law, enabling our graduates to serve as dayanim in the Rabbinical Court system. Years ago, our mentor, Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli, z.t.l. asked the heads of the kollel to open a rabbinical court for monetary matters, connected to Eretz Hemdah. (Family law is under the exclusive domain of the government’s rabbinical courts, as it should be, and most of their efforts are focused in that area.) Reinvigorating the process of clarifying new questions regarding commerce, partnerships, acquisitions, relations between neighbors, etc. from a halachic perspective was among his life’s dreams. As we approach Rav Yisraeli’s 10th yahrtzeit, the conditions are now ripe to make progress toward that end.
The ability to make Jewish civil law fully viable for the business community depends on three basic requirements. Firstly, one needs expertise in the Nezikin section of the Talmud and the Choshen Mishpat section of the Shulchan Aruch, along with the parallels in the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. The second is the ability to implement halachic realities in the setting of an independent, modern, Jewish state, which boasts a complex, internal and international, financial system. The third is the ability to enforce the beit din’s rulings according to the laws of the state.
The first requirement was made possible, despite Rav Yisraeli’s passing, when Hagaon Harav Zalman Goldberg shlita agreed to serve as our beit din’s president. Rav Goldberg, son-in-law of Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Orbach z.t.l., has been a member of Eretz Hemdah’s staff from its first day. In the last years, he has served on the Supreme Rabbinical Court, in Yerushalayim. He is world-renowned not only as one of the most outstanding talmidei chachamim, but also as an expert dayan. In addition, we, at Eretz Hemdah, have merited finishing two cycles of the extensive and intensive curriculum of dayanut, with a full complement of graduates qualified to sit on a beit din. Regarding the second criterion, our steering committee, in consultation with our Torah board, has set the foundation for the beit din’s smooth operation, both from a Torah and a legal basis. We have assembled an apparatus of professional consultants from all of the major elements of the world of modern finance to work alongside the beit din. Regarding the ability to enforce rulings, the state’s Law of Arbitration creates the legal framework to enable a beit din to operate according to the law of the land and take advantage of tools of law enforcement at a court’s disposal.
In the coming weeks, we will highlight certain unique halachic and organizational ideas upon which our beit din will operate.
Call or e-mail us for information on this coming Wednesday’s yom iyun on the topic of batei din for the business community.
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