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Q&A from the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline

Family Court

September 15, 2022

Q May the bais din for pruzbul include dayanim who are related one to another, or related to the lender or borrowers?

A We noted recently in this forum that Sephardim follow the Shulchan Aruch and require for pruzbul a bais din that can extract money. They therefore must use a kosher bais din, without relatives. For Ashkenazim, who follow the Rama that any b’nei Torah can form a bais din for pruzbul, some poskim say that since the bais din isn’t judging or deciding anything, it is like a bais din for hataras nedarim that may include relatives to one another or the petitioner. Others maintain that since a pruzbul makes it as if one gave over his debts for the bais din to collect on his behalf, it must be a bais din that can collect debts, so the dayanim mustn’t be related to each other or the parties. Still others say that the dayanim can’t be related to one another, because then it isn’t a bais din, but they can be related to the parties.

(A related discussion is whether a pruzbul may be written at night. According to the view that the dayanim may be related to one another, it may, because a bais din that can rule is not required.)

As a matter of halacha, the Minchas Yitzchak (10:140), Sheivet Halevi (9:286), and R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shalmei Mo’ed) permit using dayanim related to one another or to the parties and writing a pruzbul at night, and they say this is the prevalent minhag. There were, however, some that were strict lechat’chilah.

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