The Jerusalem Regional Rabbinical Court refused recently to comply with the ruling of the Grand Rabbinical Court that a man must pay the mortgage for an apartment owned by his ex-wife, as part of the alimony. The Regional Court judges ruled that the Grand Court’s ruling was contrary to Jewish law because it would cause the man, a Kollel student, “a complete economic collapse,” Haaretz reported Monday (ביה”ד הרבני האזורי סירב לקבל פסיקה של בית הדין הגדול בטענה שהיא מנוגדת להלכה).
It should be noted that although the Regional Rabbinical Court very rarely refuses to comply with the Grand Court, there are precedents to this since the entire idea of appealing a rabbinical court’s initial ruling is not grounded in halacha. Netael Bandel who wrote the story for Haaretz cited Prof. Shachar Lifshitz, Family Law Specialist and Head of the Manomadin Center for Jewish and Democratic Law at Bar Ilan University, who suggested the appeals system had been imposed on the rabbinical courts by the British mandate, as a condition of recognizing their jurisdiction.
The regional court judges wrote that the Grand Rabbinical Court had treated the defendant with the “quality of Sodom,” which, according to Sages, means “taking money from a person who does not owe it by law.”
They further stated that according to their impression, the defendant ” has no earning capacity at all, not even compared to a regular Kollel student. In contrast, the ex-wife is in the process of establishing herself financially as detailed in the case. Therefore, any imposition of alimony would inevitably bring the man to a complete economic collapse without the ability to continue his life in any way.”