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Shabbat Parashat Devarim 5778

P'ninat Mishpat: Rescinding School Acceptance

(based on ruling 70063 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts)

Case: The plaintiff (=pl) is an eighth-grade student, who is interested in attending the a yeshiva (=def) in the coming year.  In the early winter, pl received a letter from def informing him that he was accepted. Sometime after that, the yeshiva informed pl that the yeshiva rescinded its decision. Pl’s representative (=rep) has since then been trying to get him reaccepted. Rep states that pl is a good student who very much wants to learn in the yeshiva and is suitable for it. He says that the rescinding of the acceptance was done without enough thought, and def did not bother to speak to the many references who know pl. Pl is happy to bring character witnesses to beit din. Pl demands that def agree to accept him. Def argues that pl was accepted before taking their standard test; after a tiyul for prospective students, the staff decided that he was not suitable for def. The acceptance was rescinded only three weeks after the acceptance. They are willing to apologize to pl.

 

Ruling: It seems to us that it was not a good thing to rescind pl’s acceptance after it was given. Since pl did not go through the accepted process, it would have been proper to accept him on condition that he did sufficiently well on the tests.

Since def agrees that pl is a child with many fine qualities, including leadership skills and a desire to grow spiritually, there is no need to bring witnesses to confirm that which is already known. Def still clings to the claim that pl would do better elsewhere. Beit din will not try to establish if that is true or not, and we are not certain one can give a clear answer on such a question.

What beit din asks itself is whether it would even be a good thing to force def to accept pl against its will and after the adjudication that has transpired. It is our opinion that it is not a good idea. The relationship between a student and his teachers must be based on trust and respect. After all that has happened, it is very doubtful whether such a relationship can be properly forged. It is inspiring how important it is to pl to be accepted to the yeshiva, for the right reasons. However, this is one of the times in which we say that just as one gets reward to want to do something good, so one gets reward for ceasing to pursue it when that is the correct course. We are confident that pl will succeed in growing in Torah and good personal attributes in any place that he chooses to study.

Therefore, pl’s demand to be accepted as a student is denied. It is appropriate for an administrator of def to personally apologize to pl and with that end the story.

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