Exploring The Practices Of A Jewish Bet Din

Publié par chermoh mohamed on mercredi 13 juin 2018

By Walter West


Settling disputes in the Jewish tradition is often different than doing so in others. In most cases, Jews prefer to consult with a jewish bet din which is a jewish court of law. Whereas, Halakha is the term for the law of those observing the practices, rituals and traditions of the faith. The first beth din was formed based on laws of the Torah which prescribe that tribes were to appoint court officials to settle disagreements and disputes.

While originally used to quell disputes in the Jewish heritage, these laws are different than those provided by the Federal and State government. The first to serve on the court were 71 rabbis whom served at the original temple in Jerusalem. At that time, the officials heard cases and handed down decisions to the people of Israel.

Following the destruction of the Temple, the people began spreading out, gathered and decided 71 legal officials was no longer a practical or feasible option. In stead, the court was transformed into a court of three men whom had knowledge of Orthodox laws and traditions. Since that time, consulting with the court has become the best and easiest way for Jews to address and settle legal disputes.

Before settling a case, the court refers to the halakha. In the beginning, the services of the court were only available to those living in smaller towns and villages. Now, the three members of the court, often rabbis share responsibility that is part and parcel to the formal legal system in Israel. As a result, consultation with the court is often necessary for legal issues as well as some aspects of Jewish rituals and practice.

Outside of Israel, there are some local and national batei din, such as the Beth Din of America or the Beth Din of Manchester which are present for those in these areas wishing to consult members of the court. Most often, the courts are staffed by lawyers and judges whom are knowledgeable of laws and rituals associated with the faith. While this is the case, halakha prescribes that three Jewish men can provide these services without being part of any formal organizations.

While there are several reasons individuals and couples would consult with a beit din, one of the most common is divorce. As with other courts dealing with divorce, the couple must be present at proceedings to assure that all aspects and settlements are legal and binding. While this is the case, it should be noted that there are some aspects under Halakha which are different than those when it comes to divorce under secular laws and traditions.

Other reasons for consulting a beit din include conversion from other faiths, marriage and dissolution of oaths. For, it is required that when an individual desires to convert to Judaism from another faith the person appear to express sincerity and answer questions related to the faith. Whereas, when uniting in marriage or dissolving an oath, the court must be present to change the status and supply documents.

While serving in these personal aspects, the court can also be consulted with regards to dissolving oaths made in the last year, settling business disputes and awarding damages. When dealing with civil issues, most courts conduct proceedings in line with secular arbitration and halakha. For, in doing so, the proceedings are consistent with, and legally binding in a secular court.




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