Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Halachah Question: Beis Din

A guest post by Yosef Greenberg

With the hullabaloo going on in Bnei Brak regarding a man who called a few Dayanim to court, the following question occurred to me.

I am unaware of any impartial, qualified beis din in my area that can adjudicate a dispute properly. The reason I believe that caused this is as follows:

  • Dayanim are paid, sometimes paid well. Against halachah. Of course, a proper loophole was found. But in such cases, the reason behind the halachah still stands.
  • Dayanim have an active interest to prolong cases, earning them more money by the hour.
  • By paskening for the richer side, they have a better chance to have more cases brought to them. Richer people are usually more in court.
  • (Rich people are powerful. A dayan has an interest in not getting on his bad side.) In parethesis since it might be debatable.
  • When there's no rich guy involved, beis din usually tries to pasken for the defense. Maybe because of hamotzie mechaveiro, I don't know. But they can go well against common sense too. (I know, courts too.)
  • Beis din sometimes *forces* a psharah, or settlement. By forcing I mean putting more than considerable pressure. Halachah asks beis din to try, not force. The reason for this is probably because if they can make both happy, they might earn more business. The opposite is usually the result.

All in all, the beis din might even be technically within the boundaries of halachah. Yet, they seem to be violating the spirit.

Now to my question: What would you do in such a case? Do you go to court? Remember that the defendant gets to choose the beis din, so much is on his side.

[Disclaimer: What I write above is what I heard/know/saw. YMMV, or Your Mileage May Vary]

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