Monday, March 20, 2006

How Does A Beis Din Work?

How does a beis din work? A reading of Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat will only get you as far as a beis din in the sixteenth century. With commentaries, the seventeenth century. How does a contemporary beis din work?

R. Chaim Jachter, in his recent book Gray Matter volume II, gives an inside look to some of the issues confronting the institution of beis din in modern times. R. Jachter, an experienced dayan, addresses important issues such as the issuance of a summons to a beis din as done today, how and when one may refuse a summons, the selection and possible rejection of a beis din, the use of lawyers, and other relevant topics. The issue of lawyers is particularly interesting because a prominent newspaper has recently asserted that the Beth Din of America, which is affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America, does not allow the use of lawyers. R. Jachter's study of this issue contradicts this assertion and explains the halakhic reasoning behind the Beth Din of America's policy.

As the publisher and therefore someone with an admitted (and proud) financial interest in this book, I suggest that this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand a litigant's rights and obligations in a beis din.


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