Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh| 5764
Tetzaveh | | 1/8/2003
Percival Goodman, one of America’s great synagogue architects, insisted that the Ner Tamid in every synagogue be designed to be an oil lamp to be tended by the members of the congregation. Actually, there was no independent Ner Tamid in the Sanctuary or the Temple; it was the westernmost light on the Menorah (Shabbat 22b). When it was kindled, the flames were not allowed to sputter or flicker, but had to “dance” by themselves (ibid.21a).
Not only can one complain about monetary damages and lack of privacy, as we have seen, but he can sometimes complain about the noise and commotion which his neighbor brings into their residential area. The source is a mishna in Bava Batra (20b) that neighbors can prevent the opening of a store in their residential area with the claim that they cannot sleep because of the noise of those who come and go.
Hatorah V’hamedina” is an important platform from a fundamental, philosophical perspective, as well as practical perspective. From a philosophical perspective, it is needed to teach an important lesson. From time to time, we come across an opinion that the Torah’s role as a set, binding framework to regulate activity is only within the private realm. That is where the Shulchan Aruch charts our course.
Question: I, as an architect, was authorized by a client to hire for them a structural engineer to supplement my work. As lead contractor, I am supposed to arrange all payments. I was mildly negligent in not sufficiently warning the client that the engineer would have to do a lot of work. The client now refuses to pay for the engineering work. Should I pay the engineer from the money I was paid for my plans? The engineer and I have no written or even specific, oral agreement, but we both assume to be working within accepted practice. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) told me that in their standard contract, it says that the architect should pay the consultants according to the percentage of money received from the client and diligently pursue the remainder of the payment. They provided no information to fit this exact case.
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
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).