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Shabbat Parashat Matot Masei 5781

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: How to Sue a Resident

Letter #37

Date and Place: 18 Iyar 5666 (1906), Yafo

Recipient: The council of Rechovot

Body: Mr. Y. G. showed me the council’s response to him, that you are unwilling to adjudicate in beit din with an individual until he first pays the amount that the municipality has demanded of him. I am hereby obligated to inform you, distinguished people, that according to Torah financial law, the right that the community has in such adjudication is to request collateral from the individual litigant before they begin adjudication, if they have doubts about whether he will pay after an award has been ruled. They do not have a right to demand payment of outstanding claims [prior to adjudication].  

I hope that you will not allow any break from the standards that are required for adjudication and that you will carry out the matter according to the rules. I want to set the time for a hearing as part of the adjudication by this upcoming Shavuot (within 17 days).


Praise for a Book on Agricultural Halacha – Letter #38


Date and Place: 16 Tammuz 5666 (1906), Yafo

Body: I have seen a person who is diligent in his work for Heaven’s sake, my friend, who is sharp and knowledgeable, G-d-fearing and complete, Avraham Shimon Yermah. He is one of our dear brothers who has settled the holy soil in the agricultural settlement of Petach Tikva. He has been inspired to organize a fair share of the laws of tithing and other critical halachot, in an orderly fashion and with clear language, for the benefit of our brethren who work the sacred soil and those who inhabit it.

I went over a significant part of his writing and found his words to be accurate and insightful, as he based himself on the words of our rabbis, the poskim from the periods of the Rishonim (1000-1500) and Acharonim (1500 and on). Sometimes he added on an additional element of his own, using sound logic. The few things I thought deserved critical comment are presented within the book.

In our days, when we have merited to see a sizable portion of our nation of Hashem living in the Holy Land, we have a greatly increased obligation to strengthen our resolve to approach the study and adherence to the laws of agriculture, both on the general and the detailed level. Therefore, regarding any literary work on the topic, especially when it is written by one of our brethren who not only writes about the topic but fulfills the matters actively in a proper manner, as he is a laborer of the fields who follows the halachot with great diligence, it is all the more appropriate to have special excitement about the book.

Since his interest in this project is fully for Heaven’s sake, to strengthen the Torah and mitzva observance, and not for money, which he is not lacking, we should thank him and bless him for his efforts in writing on the topic. We should view it like a “fire-offering” by the author and a blessing for our brethren who live in the Land of Life.

May Hashem show him national liberation in the near future, so that we can see the return of all of Israel to the Holy Land with all its inhabitants, to fulfill the mitzvot of the Land as they were given, with the grand edifices restored and cities built on top of their ruins. May those redeemed by Hashem return with eternal joy. 

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Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

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Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther

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