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Claiming Debt from Yeshiva

Please enlighten me with a response as to what is the Halacha and best way to procede.
I worked for a major Yeshiva for the past 7.5 years. Due to financial difficulties they decided to remove about 9 staff members from their payroll. They owe money to most of us.

The Yeshivah owns a very large property with several houses (used for staff to whom they owe money) on the outside edge of the property. I was wondering if Halachically they could be forced to sell off some of their property in order to pay people back?

Can the Yeshivah force the former staff to move if they didn’t pay them back?

What Halachic recourse or obligation is there if the Yeshivah agreed to a staff member using his own personal credit card to pay bills for the Yeshivah, when the Yeshivah didn’t pay the bill for several months during the course of time or has only been paying the minimum payments? It ruined the credit of the staff member.

Is the former staff member obligated to pay rent if he was told to leave (living on the Yeshivas property was part of the agreement of employment, in addition to a full salary) but wasn’t paid the debt that the Yeshivah owes?

What is the obligation of severence pay?

Does any of the halacha change if the Yeshivah hired few replacement employees to replace my position even though I have agreed to reduce my salary by 20-30% ?

In addition I have 2 other Yeshivos that owe me rent. Both Yeshivos closed and have not made any efforts to repay me. What recourse do I have? They have no personal assets except one former Rosh Yeshivah that owns a house.


In brief: If you know that you are owed money, and you know how much money you are owed, you certainly don’t need to pay owed rental money to the yeshiva, and you can keep the money as payment for the debt you are owed.

In addition, you should stay in the apartment for as long as you are able to, and deduct the continual rental from the money that you are owed. The yeshiva is able to evict you from the property, but only provided it makes alternative arrangments for repayment of the debt.

In principle, the yeshiva is obligated to sell its properties in order to pay its debts. Getting them to do so, of course, will not be easy.

Unless stipulated otherwise, the yeshiva would be obligated to pay severance pay.

I do not see a method of recourse for the ruined credit rating due to use of the credit card for yeshiva expenses.

The halacha does not change on account of the yeshiva taking on other employees. It is their right to do so, provided they pay their debts and their obligations.

Re: the other yeshivos. If the yeshivos have no personal assets, it will not be easy to claim your debts. However, many poskim maintain that the Rosh Yeshiva would be personally liable, and although he would not be made to sell his house, he would be made to make some arrangment for paying back the debt.

Sources: See Choshen Mishpat 4:1 (permitted to withold moneys for debts collection); Choshen Mishpat 97:24 (obligation to sell property in order to pay debts)

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