Lesson One: Summons to Beis Din

As an introduction, I would like to explain a little about the structure of the course and the expectations we will have from you.

The primary focus of a to’en’s job, and by extension the tests and certification to become licensed as a to’en, focus on the practical application of the relevant halachos and not on their sources and lomdus. Certainly the sources and logic are important to your own learning, and the better one understands a halacha the more accurately it can be applied; but these are of secondary priority.

However, it is important to point out that the lessons you are currently using were originally written for the Dayanim course and contain an abundance of information that is critical for Dayanim, but much less so for a to’en. This is not intended to detract from the benefit of the written courses, rather I want to put things in perspective to help you.

Sometimes the size of some of the lessons can appear overwhelming and the abundance of opinions and explanations can be daunting; however, you should be aware that you can skim through much of the material that is not directly relevant to the practical application of the halacha.

Additionally, it will be very much to your advantage if you can look up and learn some of the seforim that are quoted inside. While the written courses are comprehensive and independent, nothing can compare to learning from the original sources. For the to’en course, your priority should always be to learn the Shulchan Aruch with the Sma and Shach, because this is what you will be responsible to know on the tests. This is followed by the Tur and Beis Yosef (that is, followed in priority, not chronologically). If you have even more time, it is generally ideal to see the Gemaros listed on the Mareh Mekomos page of the lesson. Finally, the other seforim listed are generally relevant only if you can invest an abundance of time.

I will try to summarize briefly the main points of each lesson in writing, and in the video shiur to clarify and give examples of the relevant halachos from each lesson.

Enjoy and Hatzlocho!

This video covers Lesson one and lesson two.

The main points of Lesson 1 are:

1.    The beis din should only issue a summons in a manner which lends itself to being taken seriously, for example on a day they usually meet.

2.    In theory beis din could give a plaintiff permission to sue in secular court if the respondent ignores a single summons, but in practice this is only done after ignoring 3.

3.    The respondent is obligated to travel to beis din to attend his hearing, if he cannot make it he must request an alternative date in a timely and respectful manner.

The main points of Lesson 2 are:

1.    If a respondent can legitimately argue that he did not realize the summons was legitimate, he will not be liable to sanctions for ignoring it.

2.    The summons does not need to be delivered by a halachic shaliach, any reliable method of conveying the information is valid.

3.    If it is likely that the respondent never received the summons, he cannot be sanctioned for failing to appear in beis din.

4.    If beis din sanctions a litigant for failing to appear when summoned, he cannot credibly deny knowledge of his delinquency. He can only remove his status as non-compliant by actually appearing in beis din.

Please see below for pertinent documents.