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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘sake’

For Heaven’s Sake

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Mr. Braun received legal notice: Mr. Rubin was demanding $50,000 payment due.

“I owe no more than $10,000,” replied Mr. Braun. “I’m willing to pay that amount immediately to settle the issue.”

“Our records indicate $50,000,” came the response. “If the full amount is not paid, we will proceed to take legal action in court.”

“I deny owing that amount,” replied Mr. Braun. “If there is need for litigation, though, I request that we adjudicate in a Jewish beis din.”

“We refuse to mediate in beis din,” Mr. Rubin’s lawyer responded. “In light of your denial, we are filing a suit in civil court.”

Mr. Braun received a summons for a court hearing. After some deliberation, the judge dismissed the case. Mr. Braun walked out feeling great. Not only was Mr. Rubin’s claim rejected but Mr. Braun was exempted even from the $10,000 he actually owed.

A short time later, Mr. Rubin filed a claim in beis din. Mr. Braun alerted the dayanim that he initially wanted to adjudicate in beis din, but Mr. Rubin had refused. “The case was already heard in civil court, and dismissed,” he said. “I’m not interested in adjudicating again.”

When the beis din heard this, it decided not to accept the case. “We generally don’t accept cases that have already been adjudicated in civil court, unless both sides want to readjudicate.”

“So I’m completely free?” Mr. Braun asked Rabbi Dayan. ” Am I obligated to pay the amount I know I owe?”

“According to many authorities, yes,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “even though beis din refrains from accepting the case, but some exempt.”

“Can you please explain?” asked Mr. Braun.

“Rama [C.M. 26:1] sides with the opinion that beis din should refrain from adjudicating a case that the plaintiff previously brought to civil court and lost,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Rav Yonasan Eibshutz, in Tumim [26:2] questions this ruling: Even if the civil court ruled against the plaintiff, what exempts the defendant from his obligation according to Torah law?”

Tumim provides two explanations,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “One, the Rama follows his own ruling [C.M. 22:2] that although a Jew is not allowed to accept the authority of a non-Jewish judge, after adjudicating before him the person cannot retract, as he implicitly accepted the judge as qualified. However, the Shach [22:15] questions this ruling and further requires a formal kinyan sudar of this acceptance.”

“What is the second explanation?” asked Mr. Braun.

“Since the plaintiff violated halacha by adjudicating in civil court, as a penalty to him beis din declines to look after his interests,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “The Gra [26:4] indicates this reason as well.”

“Is there a practical difference between these two reasons?” asked Mr. Braun.

“In a case where the defendant bribed the non-Jewish judges in his favor, that ruling is null and void, so that the first reason would not apply,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Nonetheless, the Nesivos [26:2] suggests that second reason of penalty, which he considers primary, still applies, so that beis din should decline the case regardless.”

“What about my question?” asked Mr. Braun.

“Nesivos and Aruch HaShulchan [26:1] write that although beis din avoids adjudicating the case, the defendant remains obligated to pay what he owes,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

“Even if he is unsure, he should consult the beis din to avoid potential theft. However, according to Tashbetz [3:86], since the parties went to adjudicate before the civil court, it is like they accepted upon themselves to judge in that manner and forwent their rights according to Torah law,” concluded Rabbi Dayan.

“Tumim also implies that since you are holding the money, you can rely on the Rama’s ruling [22:2] that the non-Jew’s decision is valid post facto and you would not have to pay.” (See also Maharsham 1:89; Minchas Pittim C.M. 26)

Rabbi Meir Orlian

Israeli President to EU Parliament: No More ‘Negotiations for Negotiations’ Sake’

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday, including foreign ministers of the EU member states, and issued a sharp rebuke of the international community’s approach toward Israeli-“Palestinian” peacemaking, arguing that the recent French initiative “suffers from fundamental flaws” and that efforts should be focused on building trust among the parties rather than striving for a permanent peace deal, which he described as a “chronicle of a predictable failure.”

Rivlin, a former right-wing parliamentarian who has refashioned himself in the presidency as a strong voice for unity and tolerance, pointedly dismissed recent European peacemaking endeavors, including the French initiative conference adopted by the European Union Council last week.

“The attempt to return to negotiations for negotiations’ sake, not only does not bring us near the long-awaited solution, but rather drags us further away from it,” Rivlin said. “The French initiative suffers from fundamental flaws.”

“If the international community really wishes and truly aspires to be a constructive player, it must divert its efforts away from the renewal of negotiations for negotiations’ sake, and toward building trust between the parties, and to creating the necessary terms for the success of negotiations in the future,” Rivlin added. “In the current circumstances, we must all ask ourselves ‘what can be done today’, rather than, ‘what cannot be done.’”

Rivlin argued that a true peace deal is not practical today and its pursuit is a doomed enterprise.

“Currently the practical conditions, the political and regional circumstances, which would enable us to reach a permanent agreement between us – the Israelis and the Palestinians – are failing to materialize,” Rivlin claimed, citing the split between the Palestinian Fatah party and the Hamas terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, as well as the “total lack of trust between the parties, at all levels, between the leaders and the nations.”

“One cannot hope to achieve better results while resorting to the same outlooks and tools which have failed time after time previously,” Rivlin said.

Rivlin also addressed European criticism of Israel, which he described as misguided and at times unfair.

“I feel that the massive criticism aimed at Israel in Europe stems from, inter alia, a misunderstanding and an impatience toward this existential need of the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel,” he said. “There are those who feel anger and frustration toward certain European actions, vis-à-vis what they perceive as sometimes unfair criticism, sometimes even contaminated by elements of condescension, and some would even say double standard.”

“If Europe is interested in serving as a constructive factor in striving for a future agreement, it will be incumbent upon you its leaders, to focus efforts at this time in a patient and methodic building of trust. Not through divestments, but through investment; not by boycotts, but by cooperation,” Rivlin added.

Despite his blistering critique of Europe’s attitude toward Israel and his stark assessment of the possibility of a long-term peace deal in the near future, Rivlin stressed that Israel seeks peace.

“I speak to you today in the name of a nation which abhors war and desires life and peace,” he said. “Being well versed in the Israeli Parliament, I do know that any political agreement brought before the Israeli Knesset by an elected government will be approved.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Failing in Order to Succeed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The rabbis teach that we can only truly understand Torah when we allow ourselves to fail at it (Gittin 43a). Unless we push ourselves to reach for deeper understanding, where we inevitably get it wrong before we can get it right, we will not grasp the very essence of the Jewish enterprise. Rashi here seems to think that it’s the public shame of getting it wrong (and the concomitant rebuke) that strengthens one’s intellectual rigor. It is not hard to think about giving constructive feedback (“rebuke”) when it comes to moral matters, but do we care enough about ideas that we (respectfully) challenge others when ideas are misinterpreted or misapplied? How much do we really value the marketplace of ideas and the assurance that we as individuals and as a society get it right?

History is full of examples of leaders who acknowledged that persistence in the face of failure was more important than individual failures. President Abraham Lincoln, whose army suffered many crushing defeats in the early years of the Civil War, said: “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” A century later, Robert F. Kennedy echoed the optimistic spirit of youth when he said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Besides for being tragically assassinated, what these presidents have in common in that their causes lasted, their legacies carried on, and they are remembered as being among the greatest and most successful men to occupy the Oval Office.

Very often, one can be lured by the traps of conformism (just follow others’ ideas or practices) or isolationism (just follow one’s own marginal ideas and practices). Our job as Jews is to break free from these ploys for mediocrity. We must challenge ourselves and the status quo to reach higher by engaging with societal ideas but without blindly accepting them.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chassidic movement) and founder and intellectual-spiritual leader in his own right, was anything but a conformist. He not only told his followers to be happy, but he also encouraged them to do silly things, highly unusual for a religious leader. Rebbe Nachman stated that each person had to fall in order to rise, and stressed the universality of this concept:

[E]ach person who fell … thinks that these words weren’t spoken for him, for he imagines that these ideas are only for great people who are always climbing from one level to the next. But truthfully, you should know and believe, that all these words were also said concerning the smallest of the small and the worst of the worst, for Hashem is forever good to all.

However, Rebbe Nachman went further, stating that it is “a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination.” Even the tendency to evil could serve G-d, as people worked through these passions and eventually overcame them. To Rebbe Nachman, it seems, spiritual stasis is the only unacceptable path.

We must be willing to learn and debate with others. Ideas matter. Inevitably that will lead to some level of shame when we get it wrong, but the promise land afterwards is much greater. It offers a culture of more honest, informed, connected individuals who are willing to be vulnerable for the sake of truth and who are willing to be wrong in order to get it right. Our great rabbinic and presidential leaders wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Denmark Bans Meatballs to Accommodate Muslims

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

One of the largest hospitals in Denmark has admitted to serving only halal beef — meat that is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines — to all of its patients regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.

The revelation that Danes are being forced to eat Islamically slaughtered meat at public institutions has triggered a spirited nationwide debate about how far Denmark should go to accommodate the estimated 250,000 Muslim immigrants now living in the country.

The halal food row erupted in July when the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet reported that Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen has been secretly serving only halal-slaughtered meat for the sake of its Muslim patients, for the past ten years. The hospital serves more than 40,000 patients annually, many (if not most) of whom presumably are non-Muslim.

Halal — which in Arabic means lawful or legal — is a term designating any object or action that is permissible according to Islamic Sharia law. In the context of food, halal meat is derived from animals slaughtered by hand according to methods stipulated in Islamic religious texts.

One such halal method, called dhabihah, consists of making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck that cuts the jugular vein, leaving the animal to bleed to death. Much of the controversy involving halal stems from the fact that Sharia law bans the practice of stunning the animals before they are slaughtered. Pre-slaughter stunning renders the animals unconscious and is said to lessen their pain.

Amid a surge of public outrage over the decision to serve only halal beef, Hvidovre Hospital’s vice president, Torben Mogensen, has been unapologetic. “We have many patients from different ethnic backgrounds, which we must take into account, and it is impossible to have both the one and the other kind of beef,” he says.

“First,” Mogensen adds, “I do not think that a slaughter method as such has anything to do with faith. Second is, of course, that all chickens in Denmark are halal slaughtered, and it has to my knowledge not caused anyone to stop eating chicken.”

Mogensen also says the hospital is not trying to “push the Islamic faith down the throats of non-Muslim patients”

In a press release, Hvidovre Hospital states, “We introduced halal meat both for practical and economic reasons. It would be both more difficult and more expensive to have to make both a halal version and a non-halal version of the dishes. Then we have two production lines. It requires more people, more equipment and more money.”

The hospital advises non-Muslims to take it or leave it: “We always have alternatives to halal meat such as pork, fish or vegetarian dishes. It is a question of attitude.”

According to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, there is no comprehensive inventory of the number of hospitals in Denmark have halal meat on the menu. But officials at the University Hospital in Aarhus, the second-largest urban area in Denmark after Copenhagen, say the decision by Hvidovre Hospital to serve only halal is an example of political correctness run amok.

In an interview with the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Ole Hoffmann, the head chef of Aarhus University Hospital says: “We have never had a patient ask for halal meat, and therefore it is an issue that we have never discussed. I think it is a strange decision. If there was a desire to serve halal meat, then we would of course consider it, but we would never completely eliminate non-halal meat.”

 

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Soeren Kern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/denmark-bans-meatballs-to-accommodate-muslims/2013/08/18/

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