Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Vaeira 5781

P'ninat Mishpat: Why Was the Etrog Order Changed? part III

(based on ruling 74026 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts)

Case: The plaintiff (=pl) is an Israeli merchant of arba minim (=AM). The defendant (=def) is a representative of Company P (=CP), which sells in several places abroad. Def and pl signed a contract for specific amounts and prices of AM (in the thousands), with pl arranging where and how def would receive merchandise. The sides had disagreements about several things, including the quality of the lulavim and etrogim, due to which def did not pay pl in full. Mr. S, an AM appraiser, who represented CP, worked out a new deal between the orchard owner (oo) and CP, which was written down and signed a week later. Therefore, def claims that pl does not deserve any cut in the eventual etrog sale. [Those issues were easily adjudicated by beit din]. Def is countersuing for damages that pl caused, primarily because oo, who was supposed to provide the etrogim, did not give def as many etrogim and of the right type as he requested. Since CP ordered sales rooms and advertised for a larger quantity than they received, CP is making def pay damages ($85,000), and def is demanding that amount from pl. Def blames pl for not making a written agreement with oo or coming to the orchard to make sure the agreement went through.


Ruling: [After discussing the status of the testimony of most of the witnesses, we will look into oo’s status.]

At first glance, the disagreement between the sides has caused a delay in oo’s getting paid, which gives him an interest in his testimony, which should disqualify him. However, this is not accurate because in any case CP is required to pay oo based on a separate contract they have with him. Even according to pl, oo does not benefit from his testimony, as pl claims that he owes oo for that which he gave to CP. The Rambam (Eidut 15:6) rules that when testimony ostensibly helps the witness but the benefit is readily available through other means, the witness is able to testify. Although at times we say that a witness would rather have the payment be due from one person rather than the other because he is more reliable (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 37:17), in this case, since CP is willing to pay and pl is likely to be in financial difficulties, oo is fit to testify.

It turns out, then, that we have two kosher witnesses (MR. S and oo), but that they contradict each other on whether oo was willing to stand by the deal he worked out with pl. The question cannot be solved. In such a case, we are left with a situation in which there is a contract between def and pl, which is binding (based on common business practice) unless it can be proven that it became irrelevant. Therefore, with no more than a possible claim of negligence on pl’s part, there are insufficient grounds for obligating pl to pay for damages to CP/def.

The sides had given each other checks for payment, should it be necessary. Def says that he needs a delay in payment because of possibly extreme consequences of immediate payment. On the other hand, pl describes his needs as equally dire. We, then, have to follow the timeline as found in the contract. Therefore, in one week, we will enable pl to receive 204,258 NIS for payment for the AM that def/CP received through pl.    

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Meira bat Esther

Together with all cholei Yisrael


Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 ,5776


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780


RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tamuz 19,  5778


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

4      Av


Mrs. Rina bat Yaakov Pushett a"h.

Her smile and warmth

 are sorely missed

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.