Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim 5773
Mishpatim | 29 Shvat 5773 | 2/9/2013
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 Israel. Rather, any law about which there was a doubt in Israel, one asked the court in his city … if they did not know, they would go up to Yerushalayim … if [the lower courts in Yerushalayim] did not know they would go to the Lishkat Hagazit (a section of the Temple Mount) to the Beit Din Hagadol and ask. If the matter was known to the Beit Din Hagadol, whether based on tradition or based on the system of halachic analysis, they would say right away. If the matter was not clear to them, they would deal with the issue and discuss it until they all agreed or they would come to a vote and follow the majority … Once the Beit Din Hagadol was discontinued, halachic disagreement increased in Israel: this one says it is impure and gives a reason for his ruling, and this one says it is pure and gives a reason for his ruling; this one forbids something, and this one permits it.”
Is it permissible to use a hand vegetable masher on Shabbat? Last Shabbat, I used one to mash potatoes that were well-boiled and very soft. The question arose whether this was permitted, so we did not use the potatoes on Shabbat. Were we allowed to eat the potatoes after Shabbat?
Our tradition of how to deal with yisurin (torment, anguish) is: with quiet and by requesting mercy.
The plaintiff (=pl) was a teacher at a network of schools (=def) for a number of years and took a year of sabbatical according to the standard procedure. Towards the end of the year, pl started talking with members of def and the principal of the specific school at which he worked about the possibility of changing from a classroom teacher to an administrative position. Def did not offer an administrative position and as the next school year approached and pl did not inform def that he was returning as a teacher, def found a replacement for him, treating him as one who quit his job. Def paid pl severance pay as if they had legally fired pl, but pl demands a year’s pay, because he was informed of being fired later than the law allows, plus penalties spelled out by the law for late payment of severance pay. Def argues that since one who is on sabbatical leave has to inform his employer in writing about his plans to return, which pl did not do, pl has no rights, and the severance he received was beyond the letter of the law.
This edition of
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).