I will divulge a secret as to part of the reason that I haven't written many blog posts over the past months.
Though I have stated that I am busier than I had been previously, I had never given out any specifics (except that work picked up). What is a bit more significant is that I have found myself entangled in a very messy Din Torah (nothing to do with my book and thank G-d it's not shalom bayis). And I 've been having the time of my life. Now, instead of writing blog posts in my "spare" time, I am writing letters to dayanim and beligerent lawyers.
Now, there's an old Dale Carnegie rule: when you get stuck with a lemon, make a lemonade. This means that even when you get a bum deal, there is usually some feature you can still cash in on.
In the FAQs section of my book (page 10), I tell the reader that I intend to write a second volume to deal with specific aspects of the Jewish/Chareidi world and one of the items on the agenda was a discussion of Beis Din and Agunah issues. Now we all know that I am far behind schedule in my second book but, to make a lemonade out of a lemon, my recent experiences have taught me more than I thought I would ever know. In fact, they have taught me more than I ever wanted to know. And they have certainly proven to me first hand something I wrote in a previous post: writing about Beis Din cannot be done in a single chapter. It requires a complete book. And what I have learned from my experiences give me more than enough material.
So perhaps there will be a complete book about the workings and failings of a rabbinic Beis Din - even before there is a book 2.
And what inspired me to write about this subject in the midst of the Pesach cleaning I should be doing? It is a story that was just now emailed to me from a dear friend. A story that involves a Din Torah and making a lemonade out of a lemon. And here is the story:
In a quiet shtettle in Poland the town milkman is suddenly approached by the gabbai of the local dayan. He is summoned to a Din Torah the upcoming Tuesday.
A Din Torah? The milkman knows that he has always been a very straightforward and honest person and has absolutely no desire to benefit from ill-gotten gains. Who could possibly want to call him for a Din Torah?
Well, the town baker was one of his customers and would purchase butter and cheese for his dairy paistries. He had an accurate scale in his facility and when he brought back his butter and cheese order, he would doublecheck the chunks that were supposed to weigh a kilo.
They never weighed a full kilo. Someimes 900 grams sometimes 950. He even had an occasion where the chunk only weighed 800 grams but never did it weigh a full kilo.
The baker was incensed. He approached the village dayan and told him that not only was the milkman cheating him but he was very likely cheating everybody in the town. We must put an end to this. This scoundrel must be brought to justice!
And so, the baker filed a claim in the Beis Din and the milkman was summoned to appear. And appear he did. Albeit a bit nervous and confused.
"Do you have a reliable scale in your workshop?" he was asked by the dayan.
"No, I do not."
"Then how do you ascertain that the chunks of butter that you deliver to the baker weigh a full kilo?"
"Oh, that's simple. I don't have a scale but I do have a simple balance. When the baker comes, he brings me my bread order. So I take a full loaf of fresh bread which he tells me weighs a kilo - (and he has a reliable scale) - and I put it on one side of the balance and I weigh out the butter on the other side. I always make sure that my butter slightly outweighs the bread."
The dayan took one quick glance at the baker and immediately dismissed the case as the baker's face turned as white as the butter.
כל הפוסל במומו פוסל
and what's more:
אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו ...שאולי באמת כבר הגעת למקומו