2016 Summer Beit Midrash Shayla

by R’ Aryeh Klapper

After five weeks of learning about Halakhot relating to contracts, the SBM fellows have been posed the following Shayla. Stay tuned for R’ Klapper’s response!


Shulamit Moskowitz Cherchofsky and Ezra Stiebel are a married couple in their early thirties. respectively, a Hebrew teacher and entrepreneur living in small rental quarters in Maalei Adumim.  But they have a dream, embodied in a mortgage (51% paid off!) on a plot and a building permit on an as-yet-unbuilt-up hill in Efrat.

Reality intervenes.  In January 2016, Shulamit is offered a job as a Hebrew teacher in a community Jewish school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  It seems a great opportunity for her, and they begin preparing for the transition.  They plan to arrive on Oklahoma City on August 10, and get in touch with real estate agents immediately, hoping to buy.

First they sell the mortgaged land, to the American Orthodox developer Donald Chevreman, closing on February 28.  Chevreman owns many other lots in the same area, and has been pressing them to sell for several years.   Then Ezra puts in an order for 100 handpainted t-shirts featuring Kevin Durant in his OKC Thunder uniform at $15 each, from the local designer Olga Cassini.

All seems in order until July 4.  On that date, Kevin Durant chooses to sign with the Golden State Warriors.  Within two weeks, Durant’s restaurant in OKC closes, and there is no market at all, certainly in OKC, for T-shirts of him in a Thunder uniform.

Then, on July 28, they receive the news that the school is closing, for lack of funds.

Shulamit and Ezra sue Donald in a local beit din to undo the transaction. and get their land back.  Donald counterclaims that the mere association of his name with their plot of land has raised its value significantly, and that he is at the least entitled to its current market price.  He also asks for ZABLA.  Meanwhile, Olga sues them for payment for the t-shirts, 50 of which she has already made.  An arrangement is made to consolidate the cases in an ad hoc international beit din, and you have been appointed to the panel.

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