web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Mikveh Building Fund

Business-Halacha-logo

Yidsville had a small but dedicated Jewish community. There was one Orthodox synagogue, led by Rabbi Well, a day school, women’s mikveh, kosher butcher shop, pizza store and restaurants.

The mikveh in the community was old and in desperate need of renovation. A committee was set up to raise the necessary funds. A number of donors provided significant funding for the cause, but not enough to embark on the project.

The committee met with Rabbi Well, and decided to levy a building fee of $2,000 on each member family of the community.

A letter was sent out to the community explaining the need to renovate the mikveh and the decision of the Rabbi and the mikveh committee to levy a building fee.

A few days later, Rabbi Well received a letter from Mr. Elman:

Dear Rabbi Well,

I applaud your efforts in renovating the mikveh; it is truly in need of repair. I contributed generously to the maintenance of the mikvah throughout the years. Two years ago, though, my beloved wife passed away, so that I no longer have any use for the mikveh. As such, I don’t feel that I should have to pay the building fee for the renovations. I am happy to enclose a $250 donation towards the cause, as I often did, but feel that the $2,000 fee is excessive for me.

Respectfully,
Mr. Elman

Rabbi Well invited Mr. Elman to discuss the issue with him. “I understand your tender feelings, but the $2,000 fee is being levied on all members of the shul,” explained Rabbi Well. “We did not differentiate between those who use the mikveh on a monthly basis and those who barely use it, or those who no longer have a need.”

“Why should that be?” asked Mr. Elman. “I’m proud to be a member of the shul and support all its activities, but this is not a shul project. Unfortunately, it has no relevance for me any longer.”

“It may not be a shul project, but it is a community project,” replied Rabbi Well. “You are part of the Jewish community in Yidsville, and, as such, we expect you to participate fully in the mikveh renovations.”

“But it doesn’t seem fair to me!” exclaimed Mr. Elman. “I am willing to discuss the issue with Rabbi Dayan, though.”

“Certainly,” said Rabbi Well.

Rabbi Well and Mr. Elman met with Rabbi Dayan and asked: “Does Mr. Elman have to participate with the community in the mikveh renovation fund?”

“This question was addressed 700 years ago by Mahari Mintz [Responsa #7], as to whether elderly couples have to participate in building a mikveh,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “He ruled that since the mikveh is a communal need, every community member can be required to participate, even if he does not have a direct need.” (Rama 163:3)

“What is the basis for this?” asked Mr. Elman.

“The Mishnah [B.B. 7b] teaches that all members of a joint courtyard have to participate in expenditures needed for the proper functioning of the courtyard,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Similarly, all townspeople have to participate in expenditures needed for the proper functioning of the city. This is because the townspeople are considered partners in the town’s endeavors.”

“But since I no longer have a wife,” argued Mr. Elman, “I’m not a partner at all in this endeavor!”

Maahari Mintz gives two reasons for his ruling,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “First, the mikveh is an essential part of any Jewish community. Thus, by definition, it is incumbent upon anyone who is a part of the Jewish community. Second, there certain times that even older people might need to use the mikveh.”

“It seems, though, that whether I have to pay might depend on the two reasons of the Mahari Mintz,” Mr. Elman pointed out. “According to the first reason I understand that I have to pay, but it would seem that according to the second reason I shouldn’t have to, since I have no need at all.”

“The SM”A (163:32) accepts the first rationale as the primary reason,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “Thus, even someone who has absolutely no need at all must participate in the mikveh fund. The Chasam Sofer [O.C. #193] seems to require also some need, as Mahari Mintz‘s second reason, but, you also have an occasional need for visiting family, daughters and granddaughters.”

“Would anything that affects many people be considered a communal endeavor?” asked Mr. Elman.

“Not always,” added Rabbi Dayan. “For example, if homeowners needed to hire an advocate to lobby against real estate taxes, those who are not homeowners would not need to share in this expense, since this in not per se a communal issue.” (See Rosh, Responsa 6:9, cited in Rama 163:6; Emek Hamishpat, Hilchos Shecheinim, #44).

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Mikveh Building Fund”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Business-Halacha-NEW

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

“Does that mean a person can simply renege after payment was made?” asked Benjy incredulously.

“But I’m already dwelling in the apartment,” said Mr. Gold. “Shouldn’t that count? I’m no worse than a neighbor!”

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

“Is the invoice signed by the students?” asked the principal. “They said they didn’t get the pizza.”

“The answer depends on the terms of the purchase agreement and local customs,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/mikveh-building-fund/2013/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: