Corruption In Jewish Law Courts

A.B. writes: I think that it is unanimously agreed that the state of Botei Din in the US is pathetic. Going to the Brooklyn Courts one comes across minyan after minyan of not only ultra Orthodox but even Chassidic Jews preferring to settle their disputes in goyshe court, or Arko’oys, as opposed to following the Halocho and going to Bais Din. In fact litigating in secular court is considered so severe that not only is the Plaintiff considered a desecrator of the A-mighty’s name and idolater, but even those who only offer moral support to the Plaintiff have the status of someone who is mechalel sheym shomayim.

What is it that causes purportedly G-d fearing Jews to break halocho with impunity and go to secular court? The answer is one word, CORRUPTION. It is obviously the corruption of the Plaintiff that is an issue here. But the overwelming issue is the CORRUPTION of the Botei Din and the Rabbinic Judges or Dayonim. They do so even pretend to follow Shulchan Oruch any longer.

Here is the basic problem. It is basic in Shulchan Oruch that a dayan may not get paid at all. However, it is permitted but seriously frowned upon, that a dayan may charge for his time with the proviso that what he charges is what he is otherwise capable of earning and that he actually has other work available to be done. Yet most daynim in the charedi world can barely speak English, could maybe get a rebbe job as alternative employment of at maximum $60k a year which translated to maybe $40 an hour, yet the Bais Din wants $300 per hour instead of $120 for the three dayonim. This is in complete violation of Jewish law, of basic morality, and one is in fact getting a bunch of crooks to judge one’s case if one uses such a Bais Din. Other egregious practices frequently employed by these Botei Din include favoring the rich and the powerful, again despicable conduct. They also allow a Toen or Rabbinic lawyer to represent the client, in complete disregard for Jewish law. These rabbinic lawyers teach the litigants how to lie in order to get the best verdicts for themselves. Some of these botei din ae so corrupt that they keep on postponing cases over and over again, making litigants come to court repeatedly purely to run up the bills of the litigants, including breaking to drink coffee or daven mincha.

What has gone from being a noble calling, has become a gutter profession of corrupt, heartless Judges selling themselves to the litigants and to the devil for easy money and quick riches. They are also prepared to issue false heterim or permission to go to secular court despite there being very stringent requirements in halocho, which is being abused all the time.

The modern orthodox courts are also guilty of severe despicable misconduct including using secular law as opposed to halocho to rule on disputes, especially when it comes to divorce. They also favor the woman completely and will issue completely fake seruvim against the man if he refuses to give his wife a get until she leaves secular court, which is the most basic fundamental of halocho. A longer article on this may follow subsequently.

Along came along a very great and noble individual. Rabbi Gestetner who is trying single handedly to slowly but surely clean up the despicable state of disrepute that the US Botei Din find themselves in. He has a Bais Din which firstly and foremostly costs nothing to go to to settle disputes, either financial or matrimonial. He also does not allow any Rabbinic Judges in is bais Din and everything follows Shulchan Oruch and no feminism is practiced by him.

He is universally disliked and feared because he is such a threat to the rabbinic bais din brothel like industry. Who would pay money for corruption when a Torah true Bais Din is available for no cost? Hence, he is condemned as being an extremist, old fashioned, pro man, anti secular etc. This is why Moses Kolodny prevents his daughter from going to the proper bais Din of Rabbi Gestetner, preferring instead to litigate with the Livingstone street court or Aryeh Ralbag.

There is a desperate campaign to prevent this grass roots movement against rabbinic corruption from succeeding. We can only wish that Justice will ultimately prevail over evil and all those fighting the Torah through their corrupt money making Botein Din will be exposed for the frauds they really are.

Here is an incomplete list of some of the biggest problems in the Bais Din industry.

1. Israel Belsky

2. Mendel Epstein

3. Peretz Steinberg

4. Aryeh Ralbag

5. Haim Kraus

6. Elimelech Zalman Lebowitz

7. Solomon Herbst

8. Tzvi / Hersh Meir Ginsberg

9. Osher Landau

10. Mordechai Wohlmark

11. Meir Landesman


About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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