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Shabbat Parashat Shelach 5780

P'ninat Mishpat: Paying Community Taxes part I

(based on ruling 76111 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts)

Case: The plaintiff (=pl) is an aguda (association) that developed in 2015 from a kibbutz association, which had built an expansion for non-kibbutz members. The defendants (=def) bought a home in the expansion before 2015 and signed the standard forms obligating themselves to the rules, including paying local taxes/fees. The main claim is about outstanding payments that def is claimed to owe pl. Def’s main responses are: they should not be bound by the agreement to pl because several of its provisions are mekape’ach (unfair or discriminatory); he is not a member of pl; and he paid in an alternative manner. They also countersued for being overcharged and having deserved benefits withheld. [We will specify these and other claims as we go.]   

 

Ruling: Def claim that they are not required to adjudicate in beit din because of the law that a chozeh achid (a “uniform” contract which one strong party pressures many weaker parties into signing) is not binding when it is mekape’ach. Beit din does not accept this claim, since there is nothing unfair about going to beit din. Arbitration is a viable alternative that many parties agree to, and the fact that the arbitration is in beit din does not make it unfair to any specific party.

Def claim that they are not members of pl, as the law does not require them to be, despite owning a home in its area, and therefore they are not bound by its provisions. Although they signed with the kibbutz association when they bought the property, that was before pl was founded. Pl responds that it is a legally founded continuation of the kibbutz association to include members of the extension who are not kibbutz members. The fact that def was a member of committees of pl is sufficient evidence that they know they are members. Def counters that they used to think they were members of pl, but after reading pl’s by-laws of eligibility for membership, they realized they cannot be. They also recently sent in a letter cancelling membership. Pl is correct that these claims are in bad faith. No one has questioned def’s membership, even if someone could have tried to disqualify them on a technicality, which pl is certainly not required to have accepted. The agreement also states that resignation from pl goes into effect only after six months pass and only after all debts to pl have been paid, neither of which have transpired.

Def showed payments they made to the kibbutz, which seem to be beyond what members were generally asked to pay. Beit din finds that pl’s attempt to explain them do not present a coherent picture. Therefore, pl is responsible to demand a refund of the money from the kibbutz, in which case, def is entitled to receive it from pl. If pl fails to receive the money or a valid explanation, def can sue the kibbutz for that money (the kibbutz is not a party to this adjudication).

We continue next time with other issues.

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Refael Yitchak ben Chana

Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Esther Michal bat Gitel

Yehudit Sarah bat Rachel

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10 5771

 

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

 Tishrei 9     5776

 

Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8    5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10       5774

 

Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9   5769

 

R'  Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 5780

  

R'  Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23    5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tamuz 19     5778

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

  

  Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

 

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