Rent Control

In his fifth lecture on Rabbi Joseph Elijah Henkin (the leading posek in America during the 1940s and 1950s) for Torah in Motion, Rabbi Marc B. Shapiro says:

You get a sense that Rav Henkin has a very liberal sense. I have no doubt he voted Democrat down the line.

Economists of all sides agree that rent control is a bad idea.

There was an Orthodox rabbi who argued that Jews do not have to be bound by rent control. According to the Torah, private property is sacrosanct. It is my apartment. Look in the Shulchan Aruch. There’s no rule stating anyone can tell me how much I can charge for it.

If the government tells me I can only charge $1,000 a month for my apartment, I don’t have to abide. If I have a prospective Jewish tenant who won’t appeal to a secular court, I can say, “I don’t care what the government says. Pay me $1000 and $200 under the table.”

Rav Henkin says this is not true. Elected representatives are allowed to pass any law, even if it is against the Shulchan Aruch. If you don’t like it, vote them out of office. The Beth Din is obliged to vote in favor of government law.

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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