Who’s Money Is It Really?

From a friend of the ort family:

Message: I”m having a hard time understanding why its a problem for the married daughters to have “walked off with money put in their name”. Obviously, if it was put in their name it belongs to them!! Why should they not take money that belongs to them???

Our reply:

You seemingly are a sagacious Talmid Chochom, as it is “obvious” to you that halachically “if it was put in their name it belongs to them.” However, Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l and Horav Yaakov Fisher zt”l (of the Badatz) deal with this same question in their responsa (Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat I chapter 17, Even Yisroel chapter 101). Interesting to note that although they too are sagacious Talmidei Chochomim, they did not feel it to be so “obvious” as to you, but base their opinions on a lengthy discussion in Shas and Poskim. Also, their conclusion is quite different than your assumption. In fact they rule the opposite.

But your comment is greatly appreciated as it highlights the core issue here: It is not for you, or the Ort children, or just anyone to decide this shyla. As publicized in Eretz Yisroel by Rav Elyashiv, Rav Karelitz, and Rav Wosner shlita, only a Bais Din that heard all the claims from both sides in each other’s presence has that authority. Recently, that psak has been emphatically applied to Rav Avrohom’s case by psak of Horav Nissim Karelitz, Horav Chaim Kanievsky, Horav M.Y. Lefkovitz, Horav A.L. Steinman, and Horav Moshe Sternbuch shlita. (Click here for documentation)

This was very succinctly stated by the Rosh Hayeshiva, Horav Dovid Schustal shlita, when he said: “We are not saying that she is not entitled to the money that she took. We don’t know that. We are saying that she is not entitled to set herself up as the Dayan to decide that question by going to court and refusing to go to Bais Din.”

Thank you for providing our viewers with such a poignant illustration of the importance of heeding our Gedolim!