Question:

Thank you for this great website!

I noticed that in a lot of Choshen Mishpat questions Rabbi Fleischman writes that his answer is not binding as he didn’t hear the other side. What is the proper way to ask a Choshen Mishpat question? Could one tell the rov or beis din the nature of the case (i.e. damage to a borrowed car etc) beforehand or he shouldn’t know at all and only when the two parties are in front of beis din should they discuss what the case is about? And are there any other basic guidlines on how to properly ask a shaila?

Answer:

 

Choshen Mishpat questions, especially when there is another person involved, have another side to the story, as one person sees it from one angle and the other person sees it from a different angle. Therefore the question is being answer only according to the information given, (plus what the Rov manages to read between the lines). Essentially the best way to ask a Choshen Mishpat Question is when both parties come together and ask the question, the Rov then hears both sides and he will have a better picture of what is going on. If you are planning to go to a certain bais Din you should not discuss the case with them beforehand, because the other party is not there.

Another point. When asking any question, especially Choshen Mishpat, is the attitude that the person has when he is asking. The attitude has to be that I want to know what H-shem says about this situation, and even if I am going to lose money, I am fortunate that I was made aware, so I won’t be stealing from anyone else. This attitude helps keep things truthful, objective, and no matter what happens you will not feel bad. On the contrary, you will feel relieved, that you didn’t keep someone else’s money

Sources:

Choshen Mishpat 17-5.

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