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Good News from Eretz Hemdah Tishrei 5778
| 1 Tishrei 5778 | 9/20/2017
Building a Jewish home, establishing a family and raising children, are the main topics covered by the beit midrash during this past year. We focused on tractate Ketubot and the laws of ketubot, and on tractate Kiddushin and the laws of kiddushin. We tried to study not only the halachic details and understand their foundations, but also to fathom the message implicit in what the Sages wrote and to internalize the values they convey.
The first group of rabbis have just completed their five-year program of study and been certified as eligible to serve as town rabbis. Some will also receive a master’s degree in Torah and Science Studies from Bar-Ilan University.
We would like to share with you the extensive activities that the beit midrash organizes for teenagers in Ra’anana. The rabbis and their wives devote many hours to learning with the boys and girls of the congregation. The teens are also invited to share Shabbat meals in the rabbis’ homes. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons the beit midrash is alive with the voices of elementary school children learning Torah.
Ba’alei batim, too, should have the opportunity for intensive learning! A yeshiva background and strong intellectual powers, along with free time, which are possessed by many who would like to grow in Torah, inspired us to establish "Morenu", a program to grant rabbinic ordination without permit to officiate as a Rabbi, which is challenging in all aspects that were mentioned.
The son of a member of our community recently married a Jewish girl. Two weeks after the wedding we received an anonymous text message asserting that the bride is not Jewish, because her great-grandmother was not Jewish. In addition, a man came to us and stated that to the best of his knowledge the bride’s great-grandmother was not Jewish. On the other hand, a number of persons testify that they knew the bride’s grandmother as a Jew who was active in the synagogue on Shabbat and the festivals and is buried in the Jewish cemetery. Her daughter, the bride’s mother, is well known in the community and moved to Chile, where she is a member of a Conservative congregation. Note that the congregation was founded before the Holocaust by Jews who came from Romania. In the 1940's, an Orthodox rabbi came to town and conducted conversions. We do not have any conversion certificates from that era and the policy of my predecessor here was to accept these conversions. I should also note that the groom had dated number of non-Jewish girls, and his father threatened to disinherit him if he married a non-Jew. When he found a Jewish girl the father was overjoyed. So our perplexity is very great. We do not want to do anything amiss, in particular because the young man is a kohen. Please instruct us whether, on the basis of this information, she may be presumed to be a Jew. Should we relate to the statements that she is not Jewish? If so, how?
Late payment on a home purchase. Is the sale invalidated? Beit Shemesh branch of the Eretz Hemdah Beit Din. Av Beit Din, Harav Eliezer Shenkolofsky: The plaintiffs purchased a home from the defendants. According to their agreement, the purchasers were required to pay approximately 500,000 shekels over three payments. In actuality, the first two payments were made on time, while the third and most important payment was delayed. At that point, the sellers informed the buyers that the sale was null and void due to the violation of the terms of the agreement. The buyers claimed that the sale should continue despite the late payment. How should one relate to an erroneous payment plan?
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).