All posts by Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig

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Published Decision: Detrimental Reliance and Promissory Estoppel in Jewish Law

This article analyzes a recent decision issued by the Beth Din of America and discusses the principle of promissory estoppel and detrimental reliance in Jewish law, which lies at the heart of the decision. After summarizing the facts of the case–a dispute between a mortgage brokerage firm and real estate investment company–the article discusses the halakhic basis and background for awarding damages to a plaintiff who relied to his detriment on the defendant’s promise. The post also discusses the standard for determining when a business practice rises to the level of a minhag and whether courts should enforce performance of supererogatory obligations.

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Loss Splitting in Jewish Law: A Covid-19 Example

This post discusses the principle of loss sharing when a contract is frustrated by circumstances beyond the parties control, where neither party is more responsible for the loss than the other. The post discusses the Jewish law precedent for this principle and how it applies to contemporary disputes involving contracts frustrated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, the post contrasts Jewish law’s approach with that of the common law.

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Pesharah vs. Din

Jewish law prescribes two different methods for courts to resolve disputes: din (strict judgement according to the letter of the law) and pesharah (court-imposed settlement). Under din, courts are instructed to decide cases by applying the substantive halakhot of Jewish civil law to the dispute at hand. Under pesharah, courts are instructed to resolve disputes by imposing a reasonable and fair settlement on the parties…

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Published Procedural Letter: Zabla Panels

Our previous post discussed the pitfalls of zabla proceedings. Because these problems are exacerbated when to’anim serve on the panel, the Beth Din of America will not allow a litigant to initiate a zabla by selecting a to’en as his or her borrer. As we noted in an earlier post discussing the hazmanah process, when … Continue reading Published Procedural Letter: Zabla Panels

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Recovering the Costs of Litigation in Beit Din

Parties to a din torah frequently ask the Beth Din to award attorney’s fees. This post discusses the extent to which Jewish law requires litigants to bear the costs of their own litigation and under what circumstances the Beth Din is empowered to reallocate those costs and award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. In … Continue reading Recovering the Costs of Litigation in Beit Din

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Published Decision: When Has a Neighbor Waived His Right to First Refusal?

Mizrahi v. Ben-David (an anonymous decision posted today on the Beth Din’s website) involves a dispute over a neighbor’s right to purchase an abutting property. This post provides an overview of the case, its halakhic background, and a summary of the dayanim’s analysis. 1. The Law of the Abutter Jewish law provides an abutter with … Continue reading Published Decision: When Has a Neighbor Waived His Right to First Refusal?

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Beit Din Procedure: How Does a Beit Din Acquire Jurisdiction to Hear a Case?

This post discusses the significance of the arbitration agreement and how a beit din acquires jurisdiction to decide a case. Jewish law requires parties to settle their dispute in beit din. Generally, a given beit din has jurisdiction under Jewish law to hear a case if one of three conditions is met. The first is … Continue reading Beit Din Procedure: How Does a Beit Din Acquire Jurisdiction to Hear a Case?