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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘property’

Vending Change

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Yosef, Gad and Benjy headed down to the dining hall in their high school. As they walked along the corridor they noticed a new vending machine had been installed. The three admired the machine, and eyed its beckoning display of treats.

“I wonder whom the machine belongs to?” asked Yosef. “Do you think it belongs to the school?”

“I doubt it,” said Gad. “Look, the name of the company that owns the machine is on a label. Let’s return after lunch and get a snack for desert.”

After they finished eating, the three boys returned to the vending machine. They browsed the selections: candies, chocolates, cookies, gum, potato chips, and other nosh.

“I’m going to get a large chocolate bar,” declared Yosef. “We can all share it.”

Yosef inserted two dollar-coins in the machine and made his selection. The chocolate bar fell to the bottom, and he heard two quarters drop into the change compartment, “Clink, clink.” He reached in to take out his two quarters and was surprised to find two additional quarters there.

“Wow! There’s extra change,” he exclaimed. “That saved me fifty cents!”

“Who says you can keep it?” asked Gad. “You need to place a sign for hashavas aveidah.”

“What’s the point of hashavas aveidah?” asked Benjy. “There’s no identification on the money, anyway.”

Other students joined in the discussion, debating whether Yosef could keep the money.

“Maybe you should give the money back to the vending operator,” added Benjy. “Someone said he comes on Tuesday mornings to restock the machine.”

A bit of a commotion began.

While they were arguing, Rabbi Dayan walked by. “What’s going on?” he asked. “Sounds like an earnest debate!”

“I found extra change in the vending machine,” said Yosef. “We were arguing what to do with the money?”

“It is usually permissible to take the change for yourself,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “but in some limited cases, it is proper to contact the vending operator.”

“Why can I keep it?” asked Yosef.

“At first glance, this seems to be a case of hashavas aveidah (returning lost property) to the previous customer, who lost his change,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Since we presume the customer already became aware that he left his money, and likely does not know the exact permutation of the change or abandoned hope of retrieving it (yei’ush) – the finder is permitted to keep it.” (See Hashavas Aveidah K’halacha 12:8)

“Wouldn’t the vending operator automatically acquire the lost money that sits in his machine?” asked Benjy.

“A person’s property can acquire a lost item on his behalf, even without his knowledge,” said Rabbi Dayan. “However, this is only if the property is secure and the owner is likely to find the item left in his property. [C.M. 268:3] Here, the change compartment is not secure, nor is the operator likely to find the money, since it will probably be taken by someone else first.”

“Why did you say, ‘At first glance?…’ asked Gad. “Is this not a typical case of lost money?”

“Actually, though the change was dispensed for the previous customer, he never acquired it, since he did not take possession of it,” explained Rabbi Dayan. (C.M. 203:7) “Therefore, upon further reflection, this case is similar to a borrower who placed the money he is returning before the lender, with his permission, but the lender did not take the money. While the lender has no further claim on the borrower, what is the status of the money? R. Akiva Eiger [C.M. 120:1] writes that the money becomes hefker, since the borrower relinquished his claim to the money and the lender did not take it. Here, too, the untaken change becomes hefker.”

“In truth, the Nesivos [123:1] disagrees with R. Akiva Eiger and maintains that the money does not become hefker, but remains owned by the borrower,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “but even he would likely agree here. Since the vending operator expects the machine to dispense the change to an unsecure place, where it can be taken by anybody, he effectively renders it hefker or expresses yei’ush [C.M. 260:6, 261:4; Shach 261:3]. Thus, it is permissible to take the extra change.”

“Either way, I can take the money,” said Yosef. “What’s the difference whether it’s lost by the customer or became hefker from the vendor?”

Iranian Jewish Woman Stabbed To Death in Isfahan

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

A Jewish woman was stabbed to death in Isfahan, Iran, as part of an ongoing religious fight between the woman and her Muslim neighbors.

Tuba N., 57, was killed on Monday, following a long period of harassment of her family, during which Muslim neighbors tried to drive her from her home and take her property to use as part of the next door mosque.

UPI reported that the mosque even appropriated part of Tuba’s property, attaching it to the courtyard of the mosque.  The family appealed to the courts, but Tuba was murdered while her husband was away in Tehran, her two sisters tied up while the attackers stabbed her and then cut off her hands.

Things You See from Over Here

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

A mega-popular song by one of Israel’s better female vocalists, Yehudit Ravitz, goes:

You took my hand in your hand and told me / Let’s go down to the garden / You took my hand in your hand and told me / Things you see from over there – you don’t see from over here.

I’ve been preoccupied by that notion since the crazy pictures of Hurricane Sandy started arriving here, in safe and dry Netanya, Israel. My initial reaction was a deep, overwhelming empathy. It’s people I know and love who are facing this monster of a storm, it’s the cityscapes of 37 years of my life which are being washed up and flooded; this is not a story about a tsunami in some anonymous far-eastern country where the images of terror and loss are somehow not completely real, unless the daughter or nephew of someone you know happen to be on a self-discovery journey over there, at which point that faraway tsunami turns very personal instantaneously.

I imagine that my friends in Israel experienced the horrors of 9/11 in a similar fashion. The friends who were most deeply affected were those who had spent quality time in NY City, and so they felt every bit of destruction on a very personal level.

It so happens that our daughter is back in the States, on a long trip to celebrate her 21st birthday, and so, naturally, our level of alertness and anxiety is that much higher. My sister lives in downtown Manhattan, in one of the Grand Street co-ops, close to where my wife and I lived for so many years.

We stare at the images of devastation, both to personal property and to the very shoreline of the Eastern Seaboard, and we are aghast. We receive the emails from all the local sources to which we still subscribe, out of habit, and we read about a life without power and water, with empty store shelves and gas pumps. We experienced something similar in the blackout of the summer of 2003, but the whole thing lasted a mere two days. I recall sitting on the porch on a Friday night and seeing how, neighborhood by neighborhood, the lights came back on. But today we read about whole neighborhoods who’ve gone a week without power and running water. That’s very scary and very personal.

Now we read of a new storm, a “nor’easter,” that’s about to hit the very neighborhoods that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. We cringe at the thought of what that would feel like. How can anyone just go on surviving one blow after another from “Mother Nature” – and winter has only just begun.

I don’t care, at this point, to engage in whether these disasters are the result of global warming, global change, or global everything is just the same. There’s no doubt in my mind that, for this and many other reasons, the United States of America is becoming a harsher place in which to reside. I must confess that I’m not seeing very good things happening in the near future in America. And I love America, I even believe in American exceptionalism – but one must be blind, or at least seriously nearsighted, not to see the writing on the wall.

My colleague Tzvi Fishman has been writing here for the past few months about how living in Diaspora is practically a crime against God (I’m stretching it a bit, obviously, but that’s the gist of it). I’m starting to think that living in Diaspora is plain foolish.

It used to be that Diaspora Jews were encouraged to come to Israel because Israel needed them. I don’t believe this is any longer the case. Israel is doing fabulously well at its current state. It has the highest employment record among all the Western democracies, it has one of the highest-growth GDPs, it has one of the best medical care systems, the finest highways, more institutions of higher education per capita than anywhere else in the world, more books published per capita than anywhere else, and fantastic produce. Despite some obvious security difficulties, it is damn close to paradise. Israel is doing fine.

It’s Diaspora Jews who desperately need Israel at this point. It’s a new concept to many. We’ve been used to thinking about Israel as the place where we look for spiritual experiences, where we discover our historic past, where we come to terms with our national feelings. But to view Israel as a much, much better place than the United States in terms of creature comforts – that’s not a widely shared notion. All I can say is, check it out.

5,000 Housing Unit Lots for Sale Across Israel

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Israel Land Authority have announced that land will be market across the country for 5,000 housing units.  The Housing Ministry said it hopes to bring the total number of new housing units this year to 35,000, as it did in 2010 and 2011.

New lands on the market include lots for 2,3000 apartments in Haifa and its suburbs, 30 in the Druze town of Dalyat al-Carmel, 96 in Yokneam, 1,150 in Afula, Rosh Pina, Katzrin, and Kiryat Shmona, as well as property in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, and Beit Shemesh.

Court’s Ruling for Hebron Jews Mends Barak’s Violations of their Rights, Honoring Israel’s Moral Obligation

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Late Thursday afternoon, at my Beit Hadassah home, here, in Hebron, I received a text message – in Hebrew, four words: “Zachinu b’tik Beit HaShalom” which, in simple English means, we won. We won the court case for Beit HaShalom.

We knew that a decision was imminent. Final arguments had been presented. It was a question of time until the judge ruled.

We knew that, according to the facts presented, our chances were good. But in Israeli courts, facts aren’t necessarily a deciding factor. You never know.

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it. An Israeli court ruled in our favor. Tears came to my eyes, and muttering something, but not really speaking, I held up the phone so my wife could read the notice. Then I recited the age-old blessing said upon happy events: Shechechianu – Blessed is He that allowed me to be present for this joyous event.

Beit HaShalom was purchased for an extravagant amount of money by Morris Abraham and his family. We moved in on March 19, 2007. We remained there until Ehud Barak, then, too, the minister of defense, ordered the police and IDF to throw us out, on December 4, 2008.

The Arab who sold the building, Mr. Rajabi, claimed that we had stolen his property. We had a film of him counting the money paid for the building. He argued that he’d changed his mind and returned the money. In court, when asked to provide proof that he’d returned the money, he admitted that he had no receipt or document of any kind. “We Arabs do everything based on trust,” he said.

Anywhere else in the world, such a case would never have reached court. But in Israel, the rightful owners were expelled, the building was sealed and guarded, and the court case commenced.

Four years in court, tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, more hours than can be counted invested. Knowing that justice isn’t necessarily a key factor in such cases.

Yesterday we won. The court ruled that the government has up to 30 days to return the building to us.

Pictures flashed through my mind: rain and snow blowing through window-openings, when Barak refused to allow real windows to be installed. One of my daughters lived there with babies. Her floor was a big puddle. Our comrade, the late Eyal Noked z”l, working tirelessly, day and night, to make the apartments minimally livable. Knesset members, ministers, petitions, whatever, in an attempt to convince Barak to change his mind. To no avail.

Until yesterday.

What must happen next? Following the recent expulsion from another legally purchased building in Hebron, Beit HaMachpela, it is well known that, according to present Israeli law, the defense minister must sign permits allowing Jews to purchase property in Judea and Samaria. Without this, he can have Jews expelled from such homes.

This is easily resolvable, of course, to follow the learned conclusions of the Levi Commission, which, contrary to the U.S. intelligence opinions, ruled that civilians living in Judea and Samaria, and in places like Hebron, do not, in any way, violate international law, the Geneva Convention or the Hague accords. The commission determined that such rules, demanding expressed permission from government officials to purchase property in Judea and Samaria, are totally superfluous.

But responsibility does not rest with Barak, but rather with the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the Knesset – the present legal framework under which Israel is governed.

If I bought a home in London and was told that a Jew purchasing a home on “that side of the city” would cause a violent reaction, how would that be viewed? Probably as anti-Semitism and racism. Why, then, can’t a Jew buy property in Hebron, just as people purchase homes all over the world?

Recently, a paper was claimed to have been presented to U.S. President Barack Obama, called: “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East.” Written by the U.S. Intelligence cream of the crop, the paper concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel.

As we reported, that while this report garnered a lot of publicity in certain circles, it is unlikely that there was any truth that to its claim, but still, it was taken seriously in some circles, and its conclusion, in short, is the world, i.e. the United States, would be better off without an Israel.

Many of the reasons detailed in the paper have to do with the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria—the extremist, violent “settlers” and the anti-democratic, apartheid-like state of Israel.

Perhaps the most appropriate response to that paper on the part of Israel would be the immediate return of Jews to Beit HaShalom and Beit HaMachpela, here in Hebron, basically telling the authors exactly what we think of it and them.

Divorce And Monetary Documents

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The pasuk from which most of the halachos of gittin (divorce) are derived is in this week’s parshah. The pasuk says: “Ki yikach ish isha… vechasav lah sefer kerisus v’nasan b’yadah veshilchah mi’beiso – If a man marries a woman … and he wrote her a bill of divorce and placed it in her hand and sent her from his house” (Devarim 24:1).

Generally, the divorce process is when a husband writes a document of divorce and gives it to his wife. One halacha that results from this pasuk is that the husband or his agent must put the get in the hand (or possession) of his wife in order for the get to be valid. But this is problematic, for the rabbanan decreed that everything that a married woman acquires belongs to her husband. How then could the husband put the get into her possession if wherever he places it will acquire for him what he already owns? Even directly placing the get in her hands will be considered as if he gave it to himself, as she essentially has no property that belongs to her. Even property that she owned prior to their marriage is considered as belonging to her husband.

The Gemara in Gittin 77b answers that there is a concept called “gitta veyada ba’im k’echad – her get and her hand come together.” This means that since, if the get would be valid, she would have a hand of her own to receive the get, we thus credit her with already having her hand in this transaction – and the get is as valid as if he put it in her hand. The Gemara says that this rule also applies in a scenario whereby the husband places the get in her property. This is so since if the transaction would materialize, the property would belong to her, and we grant the property to her in order to facilitate the transaction.

The Ketzos Hachoshen (200:5) speculates as to whether we can apply this concept to monetary transactions as well. For example, if Reuven wants to give property to Shimon as a gift, one of the ways that property is acquired is by writing a shtar (document) and giving it to the buyer or to his property – similar to a get. Could Reuven place the gift document in the property and tell Shimon that he has given him the property? Would we say or not say that his property and his gift are combined? Since in order to acquire the property, Shimon needs to own the property that contains the document. And if he would own the property (the document would be in his possession) and therefore have the property acquired for him, perhaps it is a valid transaction – just as it is by a get.

The Ketzos Hachoshen then rules that this concept does not apply to monetary transactions. He explains that it can only be applicable to the scenario of a get. This is because there is a fundamental difference between the situations when a husband must “give” his wife a get and when a monetary document must change hands in order to activate a transaction. Regarding a real estate transaction, it is not sufficient to merely give the document to the buyer; rather, the buyer must acquire the document. Regarding a get, the woman need not acquire the get document; rather, the husband must merely place it in her hand or on her property. Since she does not need to acquire the get, the Gemara says that we can apply the concept of gitta veyada ba’im k’echad. The idea is that since she does not have to acquire the document and it only has to be considered on her property, we say that it is already considered to be her property – since we grant the fact that it will become her property. However, in a scenario whereby one must acquire the document in order for the transaction to take place, we cannot advance the property together with the transaction.

From the halacha that one may write a get on something from which it is forbidden to gain benefit, the Ketzos Hachoshen proves that a woman does not have to acquire her get in order for the divorce to be valid. The Rashba’s view is that anything that is forbidden to derive benefit from is not acquirable. If a woman is indeed required to acquire her get, how can it be valid when it is written on something that is not acquirable? Additionally, a man may force his wife to receive a get min haTorah. There is no acquisition that can take place against one’s will. The Ketzos draws from here that in fact a woman does not need to acquire her get; therefore the concept of gitta veyada ba’im k’echad only applies to a get and not to monetary transactions.

Uninvited: Border Police Storm Migron Outpost During Wedding

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

On Tuesday afternoon, a Border Guard police force raided the outpost of Ramat Migron in the Benjamin region, where two minors were detained without being arrested.

Border Guard police also raided the nearby outpost of Maoz Zion.

The raid, as has become a habit with the Border Guard, took place while a wedding was being conducted in the small village of Ramat Migron.

Local residents complained in the past that the police intelligence service’s ritual of arriving with an intent to destroy property during these celebrations stems from a desire to weaken the outpost residents and ruin their celebrations. But every destruction will be followed by construction, they vowed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uninvited-border-police-storm-migron-outpost-during-wedding/2012/07/03/

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