The Halakhic Validity of Israel’s Judicial System among Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Halakhic Decisors

Building and Condominium Housing Laws as a Test Case

in Review of Rabbinic Judaism
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This paper examines the approaches of three Israeli ultra-Orthodox halakhic decisors and rabbinical judges to civil law and adjudication in Israel. Based primarily on Israel’s building and condominium housing laws, it reveals that the approaches of these decisors appear largely to reflect their distinctive ideological and sociological stances towards Israeli civil law and its civil judicial system. Rabbis Israel Grossman and Shmuel Wosner confer halakhic validity on construction that is in violation of civil law, justifying it on the need to enlarge flats due to large family size and crowded conditions. On the other hand, Rabbi Asher Weiss objects to illegal building work, viewing it as “bad custom.” He maintains that religious Jews should serve as civil court lawyers and judges, regarding this as a holy undertaking. His attitude towards the civil judicial system is more sympathetic than that of Rabbis Grossman and Wosner. In each of their views, these Rabbis bring to their interpretation of Jewish law sources their distinctive ideological perspectives towards modern Israel’s civil law.

The Halakhic Validity of Israel’s Judicial System among Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Halakhic Decisors

Building and Condominium Housing Laws as a Test Case

in Review of Rabbinic Judaism

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References

2

See Ron S. Kleinman“Civil Law as Custom: Jewish Law and Secular Law—Do They Diverge or Converge?” in The Review of Rabbinic Judaism 14:1 (2011) pp. 14–16.

3

See for example Eliav Shochetman“Halakha’s Recognition of the Laws of the State of Israel,” in Shenaton Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri 16–17 (1991) pp. 444–446 (Hebrew).

14

Planning and Building Law 1965section 145(a).

72

Ibid. p. 21.

73

Ibid. p. 34.

89

Asher Weiss“The Halakhic Validity of a Registered Patent,” Kovetz Darkei Hora’ah4 (2005) pp. 100–101 (Hebrew).

90

Asher Weiss“The Limits for Permitting Litigation in Civil Courts,” Tehumin 30 (2010) 278281 (Hebrew). The question is: Can an individual who suffered injury because of medical negligence sue the Health Fund in a civil court of law according to civil law?

91

Ibid. pp. 278–279.

105

Weisssupra n. 89 pp. 279–281.

113

Ibid. p. 332.

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