Celebrating SUKKOT 5780

Past Articles:
ORDER IN THE COURT!





Q&A

with Dayanim from Maysharim Bet Din of Lakewood and Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

A couple of months ago, the Deal community was honored to host an exciting and informative Q&A session with a panel of dayanim, judges, from the Bet Din Maysharim of Lakewood.

The panel was headed by the Av Bet Din, Rabbi Yissochor Dov Kahan, who also serves as Rabbi of Kahal Rayim Ahuvim, and is well known for his extensive shiurimon a wide range of topics in Choshen Mishpat. Joining him on the panel were Rabbi Ari Marburger, Rav of Kehilat Faraday and author of Business Halacha, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Lieberman, Rosh Chabura of Chaburat Choshen Mishpat under the auspices of the Bet Din, and Rabbi Pinchas Gruber. The session was moderated by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka, Rabbi of Congregation Ohel Simha (Park Avenue Synagogue).

Practical Business Questions Addressed

Some of the questions explored employer/employee relationships, such as:

May a company actively solicit an employee of a competing company to leave his current job and come to work for them?

May someone who has switched jobs reach out to clients of his former employer?

Rabbi Kahan addressed these questions by introducing the halachic concept of ‘Ma’arufia,” which, according to Teshuvot Seride Esh (3:66), is an Arabic word which connotes a steady client. Any time that there is a steady relationship between employer and employee, meaning that the employee is happily employed and has no intention of leaving, it is forbidden to encroach on that relationship. The same would apply to a client/vendor relationship. If a client deals exclusively with a vendor and is happy with his service, it would be forbidden to solicit that client. However, if the employee is already seeking other employment, e.g. he posts his resume online, then it would be permitted to solicit and hire him. In addition, if a client uses multiple vendors, it would be permitted to solicit that client.

Rabbi Marburger added an additional qualification. He cited Teshuvot Kiryat Chana (25) that if an employee is superbly talented to the degree that is obvious to all that the position with his current employer is just a stepping stone towards advancement, it would be permitted to solicit and hire that employee.

Overcharging/Underpaying and Business Confidentiality

Other topics discussed were the halachot of ona’ah (overcharging/underpaying) with regards to cars and real estate and the halachic status of attorney review.

One fascinating question dealt with business confidentiality. Someone received an email from a competitor. Inadvertently, the sender had attached a list of his clients. May the receiver capitalize on this information for his financial benefit? Rabbi Lieberman cited a Teshuvot Halachot Ketanot (1:276) that states that just as it is forbidden to reveal someone’s secret to another person (as it states “holech rachil megaleh sod”), it is equally forbidden to reveal another’s secret to one’s own self. This being the case, it would be forbidden for the recipient to use the information for his own benefit.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka’s Closing Advice

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka closed the session by relating a story in which he was personally involved. Once he was approached by a very upset individual, who believed that he was owed a large sum of money. Rabbi Choueka advised him to go to Bet Din Maysharim. After analyzing and clarifying the facts of the case, the Bet Din revealed that not only was he not owed money, but he had actually transgressed the Torah prohibition of ribit(charging or paying interest), and was in fact obligated to return an even larger sum of money. Rabbi Choueka reiterated the importance of consulting with a rabbi, and not acting based on assumptions.

BET DIN MAYSHARIM

Bet Din Maysharim was founded in 1999, and has over twenty dayanimon staff.

The unique policies instituted by Maysharim, along with its professionalism and integrity, have earned it a reputation as one of the most prominent Batei Din in America. Maysharim not only serves as a vehicle for dispute resolution, but is also committed to promoting the education of business halacha.

Its dayanimhave authored various works in both English and Hebrew on business ethics, have been featured in numerous seminars on the subject, and continue to bring innovative educational programs to the general public.

The Bet Din can be contacted at732.905.3388 for halachic questions, drafting of wills and agreements, and dispute resolution.