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“I would understand that as an individual,” said Mr. Reiss. “But also from communal money?”

“Yes; the Chasam Sofer [II Y.D. 239:9] rules that a community should also act lifnim mishuras hadin, where applicable,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “He addresses the case of a widow who lived adjacent to the shul and it was necessary to break the shared roof to prevent fire from spreading. The Chasam Sofer ruled that the community should compensate her lifnim mishuras hadin. In fact, there may even be a greater responsibility for the community to act in a manner of lifnim mishuras hadin than for an individual, since they represent the community and are never impoverished.” (See Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1:409, 3:204; Minchas Yitzchak 5:121, 6:167)


“Thus,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “if the shul is able to, it should provide some compensation for Mr. Alter in return for his dedicated service throughout the years.”


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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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected].