Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel| 5766
Some Guidelines For Our New Beit Din
As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have just opened a new beit din, Mishpat V’Halacha B’Yisrael. The most basic element of the proper running of a beit din is to carefully follow the Torah’s rules on the matter, as found in the Shulchan Aruch and other classical and more recent works. However, it is crucial for a beit din that wants to succeed to create the right atmosphere and to stress certain halachot that need constant reminders and to implement certain guidelines that are in the spirit of the halacha but may not be mentioned explicitly. In order to attract litigants who have the alternative to seek adjudication outside of the world of din Torah,it is especially important to ensure that the beit din run as professionally as possible. More fundamentally, this is crucial to ensure the honor of the Torah and of the Divine Presence, which is present whenever proper dayanim sit in judgment (Berachot 6a). Here are a few of the guidelines found in our rules and regulations.
- The dayanim will arrive to court sessions 15 minutes before the time set for the hearing. This will ensure that they will be prepared for the session and will be able to refresh themselves in regard to matters in the file that they will be hearing. It will also help ensure that there will not be unnecessary delays in commencement of the hearing.
- The dayanim will be careful not to bring cell phones into the hearing room (even if the phone is off).
- The dayanim will not be involved during the hearing in any other activity, including learning, work on other files, etc.
- The dayanim will be dressed at the hearings in suits and ties.
- The dayanim will not discuss matters related to the case before them with anyone. This provision shall not interfere with regulation c,12 (which states that the dayanim will be encouraged to consult with a panel of experts, assembled by the beit din, in various fields of commerce, etc., related to matters that arise in beit din).
- If the sides agree in advance, in writing (to be included in the protocol) the dayanim will be allowed to discuss the case with one of the sides, not in the presence of the other. This will be done within the courtroom and for the purpose of trying to bring the sides to an agreement.
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