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Shabbat Parashat Shelach 5773

P'ninat Mishpat: Guidelines for Collection of Awards (Hotzaah Lapoal)

(based on Hemdat Mishpat, Noach 5773)

 One of the aspirations that stood behind the foundation of the network of Eretz Hemdah batei din and continues in its operations is the formation of clear halachic principles upon which the various beit din panels of the network operate. The first step towards realization of this goal is the writing of clear rulings with a detailed presentation of the reasoning of the ruling on halachic and practical grounds. Additionally, Eretz Hemdah is a partner, along with the Mishp’tei Eretz Institute, in the annual symposium of batei din in conjunction with the symposium of the Halichot Olam Institute. At these events, an annual topic is discussed after the presentation of a position paper. In summary of the consensus of the discussion, guidelines are composed on the topic of the symposium. These guidelines are then approved by important dayanim and poskim, led by Harav Yaakov Ariel (Head of the Court in Ramat Gan), Harav Dov Lior, and the heads of the various panels of the Eretz Hemdah beit din network. 

This week we will present the guidelines in regard to the use of Hotza’ah Lapo’al, the governmental arm for the collection of debt.


1. The collection of debt is within the responsibilities of beit din.

2. One who is awarded money in a ruling of beit din may turn to Hotza’ah Lapo’al when the other litigant does not carry out the ruling and may, in addition to receiving the reward, be reimbursed for the expenses of extracting payment.

3. Hotza’ah Lapo’al, as opposed to beit din, levies interest payments against the person who owes the money and did not pay. It is permitted to accept those charges either as a penalty payment (see Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 9:30) or as compensation for lost profit (Mishpatecha L’Yaakov II, p. 116).

Determination of Ability to Pay

4. Part of the task of a beit din is to determine the ability of the obligor to pay (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 97). Therefore, when he asks beit din to make a reasonable schedule of payment, beit din should agree to deal with the request, instead of sending the parties to Hotza’ah Lapo’al. (Standard payment through beit din is within 30 days.)

5. When the obligor asks for the spreading of payment over a very long period of time and it is not clear that his request is in accord with halacha, it is possible to submit the matter to Hotza’ah Lapo’al, who have the ability to perform a professional evaluation of his ability to pay. (Not only is this their specialization, but they also have access to financial records that beit din does not have).

Executing the Payment of Checks

6. The recipient of a check may turn to Hotza’ah Lapo’al to extract payment when the subject of the check is a debt about which there is no real legal dispute. This does not require the permission of beit din (Rav Eliyahu, Techumin III, p. 244).

7. If the obligor objects to the claim of debt, a proceeding in beit din is required.

8. It is proper to turn to beit din to approve the process at Hotza’ah Lapo’al, which can allow one to receive expenses that Hotza’ah Lapo’al may put on the other party.

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