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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5778

Terumah | 2 Adar 5778 | 17/02/2018

P'ninat Mishpat: Policy Change to Pay Settlement Tax

The defendant (=def) has lived in a yishuv for years, originally with his family. A few years ago, he was divorced but continued living in the yishuv as a boarder, and he was not required to pay a yishuv tax. In September 2013, the yishuv board (=pl) voted to make people in defs situation pay the tax. After not receiving payment from def for a few months, pl hand-delivered a letter threatening legal action if def did not pay. In May, pl summoned def to our beit din. Def sent a letter to beit din complaining about the change in policy, the impersonal way it was carried out, and the fact that the yishuv had not given him his own mailbox (which explains why he did not get pls earlier letters). Def did not sign an arbitration agreement or promise to submit to beit din, nor did pl receive beit dins permission to seek payment through the court system (their agreement had an arbitration provision to come to beit din). Pl went straight to hotzaah lapoal (court collection services) to extract payment with the claim that defs tax obligation is a straightforward obligation, and def did not legally fight that action. Pl extracted 4,371 shekels from def, and hotzaah lapoal charged him an extra 2,250 shekels for the process. As of the time of the din Torah, the amount def still owed, according to pl, was 9,770 shekels. Def argues that since the family that includes his children, which he helps support, is taxed, it is wrong to tax him as a separate family unit. He claims to never have refused to come to beit din, just that he demanded that beit din ensure he receive a mail box before he would come. Also, members of pl agreed to a reduction in the tax, so pl cannot now demand full payment.


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A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, ztl, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).

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