Shabbat Parashat Shelach| 5764
Shelach | | 1/8/2004
Our parasha tells us of the terrible punishment that our forefathers suffered for their rebellion and refusal to go up to Eretz Yisrael. Bnei Yisrael had to wander in the desert for 40 years and the generation that left Egypt did not merit to enter Eretz Yisrael. But if we look elsewhere in Tanach, we find another major consequence of their sin, which does not seem to appear here.
Case: The defendants (=def) sold an apartment to the plaintiffs (=pl). The contract states that def will transfer ownership in the Tabu (Land Registry) within a year, and if there is a delay of more than a week, then def will have to pay $10,000. The transfer did not take place by the required time and litigation began. Def explained that they put in the request to the proper authorities two and a half months before the appointed day and that the delay was because the authorities misplaced the file. Does def need to pay pl the sum, in full or in part?
The gemara (Chagiga 3b) relates that R. Eliezer was informed that it was decided in the beit midrash that ma’aser ani was to be given in the areas of Ammon and Moav (on the east bank of the Jordan) during the shmittah year. [Ed. note- we must add that during the shmittah year, ma’asrot are not given. Therefore, this statement says, in effect, that the laws of shmittah that are observed in that place, do not apply to the fullest extent.] He cried and recited the pasuk, “The secret of Hashem is to those who fear Him, and His covenant to inform them.”
Question: I am a student who sold a product to friends on behalf of a businessman for a percentage of the sales. I mentioned to the owner my concern about a safe place to keep the sales money until I would find time to give him the money, but we decided it would be okay. I thought that if something happened to the money, it would be his loss. It turns out that a significant amount of the money was stolen, and the owner expects me to pay. I told him that I didn’t think I had to pay, and that we could go to a din Torah (rabbinical court case). Then the idea arose that instead of having a din Torah, we would make a p’shara (compromise). Which way am I better off?
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to
the memory of R’ Meir ben Yechezkel
Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
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).