Shabbat Parashat Beaalotchai| 5766
Mishpat Ve halacha Be Israel - Part XIII
The Arbitration Agreement / A Summary
We continue the series on the workings of our newly formed beit din.
Over the last two months, we have explained the halachic and legal principles upon which we composed our arbitration agreement. The purpose of the agreement is two-fold. One is to give the choice of the beit din as an arbiter a legally binding status. In that way, the beit din’s rulings will be able to be enforced based on the laws of the State of Israel, through the institutions that deal with that enforcement. The second is to give the beit din the authority to work with more flexibility within the framework of halacha in issues upon which there are disputes among the poskim. The purpose of that authority is to be able to serve the public more efficiently.
Halacha recognizes the civil and personal welfare of the public as a significant factor. Therefore, the public’s needs are the impetus for institutions and injunctions that the Rabbis have created over the centuries. Numerous ones can be found in the Talmud, in the section of Nezikin, which deals with monetary law, as well as in the Rambam and in the Choshen Mishpat section of the Shulchan Aruch.
We realize that our beit din, Mishpat V’halacha B’yisrael, does not have the authority to make institutions, which obligate the public at large. Therefore, in matters that our leadership saw as an important need to implement, according to the needs of the time and the place, we used our arbitration agreement, when accepted by the litigants to do so. This in line with our beit din’sgeneral approach, which is to look to serve the public more efficiently. This service must stand the test of halachic correctness and legality and give a proper response to the public’s needs.
To review, the following are areas in which we secured beit din’s ability to act more efficiently:
1. Beit din’s ability to decide whether to judge based on: A. the letter of the law; B. compromise which is close to the letter of the law; C. the judgment of the dayanim.
2. The obligation of beit din to write the reasons for their ruling.
3. The ability to appeal beit din’s ruling. (Israel’s Law of Arbitration does not make such provisions.)
4. Setting the status of a corporation as an independent legal entity, in regard to the lack of personal liability of the corporation’s officers and representatives (barring exceptional circumstances).
5. The levying of damage payments or the obligation to fix the damage in certain cases of indirect damage.
6. Agreement to pay for legal costs when they are deemed appropriate.
Starting next week, we will deal with the halachic principles upon which the procedures of the beit din’srunning of cases are based.
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