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Six Sessions Explore Ecclesiastical Law

Palm Beach Post

West Palm Beach, FL — After a quick kosher lunch of eggplant spread, bagels and hummus, the room full of lawyers and judges moved on to a dessert they clearly relished: The law.

It was the first of six sessions of a continuing education course called “You Be the Judge,” sponsored by the Jewish Learning Institute.

It immediately became clear that this was no class for amateurs. The prerequisite was a good understanding of civil law and it didn’t hurt to know a few Hebrew phrases too. The object was to sharpen the participants’ understanding of Jewish ecclesiastical law. About a dozen people, mostly lawyers, attended the first class of the series, which continues weekly through January.

The panelists were Circuit Judges Ed Fine and Kenneth Stern, Court of Appeals Judge Barry Stone, retired Judge Hal Cohen and State Attorney Barry Krischer.

With that many legal minds, a ringmaster was essential. Rabbi Mendy Kornfeld of Chabad of West Palm Beach, was more than up to the task. With only an hour to convey even the flavor of Jewish law, Kornfeld presented age-old concepts with a rapid-fire delivery.

Besides keeping the group from veering away from the law and into philosophy, Kornfeld was the resident expert on Talmudic legal reasoning and the methods used by Beit Din, the Jewish court of law that goes back to the days of Moses.

Stern said he joined the panel “more as a student than a presenter. Being in love with the law, I thought it would be at the very least a learning experience. One of the things I love about the Jewish culture is that even children are encouraged to question the reasoning behind things.”

The law that most Americans understand is made by human beings. Jewish law is made by God.

As his first example, Kornfeld explained the difference between the concepts of ownership in each system. In civil law, ownership became necessary to maintain order as soon as mankind left its cave dwellings and began to accumulate wealth.

But in Jewish law, ownership comes from God and can be traced back to Adam, the first man. And to own something is to have a deep mystical, God-given connection to it.

“What if something is lost and a person finds it?” asked Judge Fine.

“That’s next week’s class,” said Kornfeld.

42 Comments

  • 1. Me wrote:

    i think some of you are missing the point….
    Good Job Mendy and Chanale!
    may you go from strnegth to strength in all aspects of your Shlichus!

  • 3. chrup! wrote:

    tsk tsk look what crown heights has become. everyone elses business is your busines except your own. Worry about yourself first.

    Good job Mendy!!! :)

  • 4. ayl wrote:

    Thats what you say when you see this picture and read this article?!?!
    Way to go Mendy..

    Dont worry about those farmers.

    Sounds like an incredible class must be very stressfull to inmpress all these lawyers and jusges.
    Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes

    AY Lieb…

  • 5. Shmuly wrote:

    The white shirt “law” was agreed upon at a meeting of Menahalim in the year 1995. The suggestion was given by Rabbi H. of The London Yeshiva Gdola, However the law went into effect at Morristown and OT the following Elul. Rabbi H. also had a second proposal, to close the summer camps and have the bochurim learn round the year (not just to keep the yeshivos open.) In any case Mendy keep up the good work and may you and your Rebitzin continue giving the Rebbe
    Nachas!
    S

  • 6. Losing focus of the point! wrote:

    I didn’t know the yidden were all wearing white shirts and black suit jackets when they recieved the torah at Har Sinai.
    If all you can focus on is the fact that he’s wearing a non-black suit jacket and tie, then you’ve lost the whole focus of not only Lubavitch, but of yiddishkeit as well.
    Good job, Mendy – it looks like the lawyers are enjoying learning torah. I’m sure your father is very proud!

  • 7. TO chosid: wrote:

    You say you’re a business man and wear a white shirt…

    hhhhhmmmm…

    Seems like Mendy is actually giving the Rebbe more nachas in his blue shit then you in your white shirt…

  • 8. A friend wrote:

    o Cmon all of you critics.
    Its amazing how some pepole are able to find bad in any situation.
    Yashar Koach Mendy Keep up the great work

  • 9. Chabad Attorney wrote:

    Good Job Mendy. Do what it takes. I would like to see anyone of these fashion complainers take on a discussion group on law with 12 lawyers and judges and get them to smile.

  • 10. A REAL CROWN HEIGHTS RESIDENT wrote:

    A CROWN HEIGHTS RESIDENT
    A GREAT KIDDUSH HASHEM , KEEP IT UP

  • 11. seattle wrote:

    Mendy looking great, it looks like a very nice shiur, good to see you rocking and rolling. as far as all those jealous farm hands are concerned, GET A LIFE, typical crown heights trash always spewing their venomous hatred in everyones face.

  • 12. comunal member wrote:

    You guys are so stupid stop blaming your hatred towards sluchim on chasidishe aspect just declare

    “I’m A avrege crown hightser and I hate any one who works with establishment”

  • 13. Gershon wrote:

    Hey, Alan,

    What’s more goyish? Dressing nicely or going by a goyish name.

    (There is some wierd notion that the more of slob one is, both in dress and in conduct, somehow, the more frum the person is. I am sorry, but it is just not so. It is only a recent thing.)

    There were 3 zechuos the Yidden had in Egypt that merited them to leave. One of which was going by their Jewish names. Why don’t you do your part? I have no problem with your going by a goyish name. Just don’t criticize others.

  • 14. Borat Choen wrote:

    what are you guys off the chain? I though chabad munt pnemeus. shluchim do great work. look at his accomplishments. has yidden learing torah. who cares what he wears. whats better to have a guy in black who cant do half the work R.Kornfeld does. besides why judge maybe he was cold and borowed from the guy next to him.

  • 15. Farmer wrote:

    why does everyone have to use the word “FARMERS”?

    (anyway good job rabbi…you look pretty good too!)

  • 16. Dallas Dude wrote:

    I am so impressed – keep it up.

    And the clothes issue, I totally back you up. There is absolutely nothing wrong and in all honesty you likely impressed that group totally. I say awesome.

    For the record, those that commented negatively are likely very unhappy people and typically find fault with everything and everybody.

  • 17. Had Enough! wrote:

    The whole notion of calling another Jew a farmer in a derogatory way is an indication of a really sick mind that is consumed with jealousy. keep the comments above board or you might find yourself on the receiving end of these barbs that will pierce your micro-thin vail of decency and reveal the filth that is bursting from within.

  • 18. You call yourself a friend??? wrote:

    These negative comments were probably made about the Rebbe when he first wore the stylish brim down fedora that lubavitchers now call their own. so to you Mr “friend of Kornfeld”, you are obviously not such a good friend. How can a person let alone a “friend” look at a picture where a shliach is giving jewish judges and lawyers a great time while exposing them to halacha see only insignificant negativity??? You call yourself a friend??? Ha Ha. As they say “With friends like you who needs enemies”!

  • 19. Shliach Ben Shliach wrote:

    There is nothing wrong with dressing like a chosid.

    Some of you criple minded people think that if you would like to see a fellow shliach dressed like a chosid then you must be a moron from crown heights.

    Constructive critisism is a good thing, especialy for those young “Shluchim” out there who think they could do whatever they like in the name of Lubavitch.

  • 20. Shmuel wrote:

    As a fellow Shliach who doesn’t live in Crown Heights so I can’t be called a farmer I would like to add my own comment:
    1. I also have a JLI class and I am impressed with the people in the picture that attend your class. They seem to be professional people and not some Lo Yutzlach’s that my class attracts.
    2. But I also have to agree with the comments that the clothing is inappropriate for the Shliach of a Rebbe. It looks like an Aish Hatorah Rabbi. I think Shluchim in general and more specifically the younger Shluchim have to remember that we represent the Rebbe and wear traditional Lubavitcher/Chassidishe clothing. I for one wear only white shirts and dark suits.

  • 21. annonomous wrote:

    As a Rabbi ,
    I say mendy KEEP LOOKING SHARP it is very important, one of the first impressions made on a person is his clothing.

  • 22. CH wrote:

    white shirts blue shirts there are some people that work; but wear white shirts EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!

    Then there are some people that are shluchim. fine. good. my brother in laws father is a shliach. but theY WEAR BLUE AND EVEN YELLOW SHIRTS!!!!!!!!! CHUTZPAH THAT A BAL HABOS SHOULD EVER NOT SEE “HIS RABBI” IN SUCH DECOR.

  • 23. YG wrote:

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE REBBE WORE TO HIS WEDDING RECEPTION!?

    THE REBBE WORE A GRAY SUIT, AND CHANGED TO A KAPOTA FOR THE CHUPA ONLY, PER REQUEST OF HIS FATHER

  • 24. Pittsburgh MD wrote:

    Shmuel,

    you wrote:
    1. I also have a JLI class and I am impressed with the people in the picture that attend your class. They seem to be professional people and not some Lo Yutzlach’s that my class attracts.

    Obviously you now understand why you get the Lotzes LOL, perhaps its time to change to ablue shirt and tie ehh ;)

  • 25. nemo wrote:

    Gershon… Bad move quoting that Medrash. One of the other three things was… that the Jews kept their Jewish dress!!!

  • 26. agree with both wrote:

    I agree with both sides:

    There is no stirah between wearing the clothes that Mendy as wearing and being a true ibergegebener shliach that goves the rebbe a lot of nachas. I think that the first reaction that someone should have when they see the picture is that even someone who dresses like that could be a shliach.

    I agree with the other side because of who Mendy is. The main issue is that a person who goes on shlichus should realise that he has to grow in his chsidishkeit — if he used to wear a polo shirt and leather yarmulka then you should dress in a yellow jacket etc. The chilul hashem is not for the outside world who doenst know the defference, it is for our bochrim who will think that it is ok for someone to go down in chasidishkeit as a shliach. That is the chilul hashem. I am sure that mendy will take this as constructive critism and sit down by a good farbrengen….

  • 27. YECHIEL BAUM wrote:

    You say you’re a business man and wear a white shit…

    hhhhhmmmm…

    Seems like Mendy is actually giving the Rebbe more nachas in his blue shit then you in your white shirt…
    BOY THE SPELLING IS GEVALDIG,
    MENDY YOU5 THE MAN IF YOUR GONNA WEAR A GREEN SUIT WHY FROM THE (80S) IT SHOULD LCHAL HAPACHAS LOOK GOOD
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
    YOU PEICE OF SHIRT

  • 28. A Kloreh Vort wrote:

    Myth: Chabad seeks Pnimiyus.

    Fact: Chabad REQUIRES Chitzonius and SEEKS Pnimiyus.

    If physical attire were insignificant, why are the Jews praised for “not changing their dress” in Mitzrayim?

    Why is the Halachah that one must not dress in the manner of the Goyim (Rambam)?

    – And why do Chassidim in general abide by a dress code?

    Lets face it: the protocol of Lubavitch (Shliach or not) has always been a very conservative, non-stylish dress, and in recent years these priciples have all but evaporated with Kingston Avenue looking like the Five Towns.

    It is irrelevant whether you are a Shliach or not. If you are a Lubavitcher Chossid you ought to dress apropriately.

    “Bur what about the Rebbe – he used to dress stylishly?”

    Aha – I love hearing people attempt to compare themselves to the Rebbe.

    Let me remind you: The Rebbe attended University but was vehemently opposed to any of his Chassidim attending college.

    Why?

    I’ll let you answer the question yourselves.

  • 29. pnimi wrote:

    Change the headline:

    This is rediculous. With all these comments about the blury picture of a jacket.

    change the headline to : Rabbi wears…

  • 30. what does it matter? wrote:

    let the guy wear what he wants! are you all jealous that you were not the first to wear a coloured jacket and for people 2 see it on the web?!?

  • 31. shliach wrote:

    Why don’t all of you C’Hers stop worrying about what a Shliach is wearing and start worrying about what your kids are wearing!

    Mendel keep up the good work and Great picture.

    ML

  • 32. sick wrote:

    you people are very SICK, why do not you get a life and spend some time with your wife and kids.

    i bet not 1 of you can attract such a crowed of lawyers and judges if you were to give a shiur.

    maybe if you would work harder you would make more then $50,000 with your 8 kids.

    keep up the good work mendy

  • 33. Anonymous wrote:

    Fight or Light?

    One thing I’ve come to realize is that many of us have an innate, enduring loyalty to our preconceptions. We’ll stick with them through thick and thin, no matter what reality sends our way.

    I first realized this some twenty years ago when a friend and I, as two young Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical students, spent our summers canvassing the state of Montana looking for Jews. We’d drive from town to town–some of which only had one or two Jewish families–and try to do our bit to encourage Jewish identity and observance.

    We were quite a curiosity, and were often featured in the local newspaper. The publicity proved useful in both drawing local Jews out of the woodwork and gaining us a welcome response when we called on people.

    One thing irked me though about these newspaper stories. After spending an hour lecturing the reporter on Jewish identity and explaining about Shabbat, kosher, tefillin and mezuzah–what did s/he write about? About the “Two Hasidic Men Wearing Traditional Hasidic Black Hat and Long Black Coat” who’ve rolled into town.

    The black hat part was true. Below the neck, however, we wore ordinary business suits. In all fairness to the reporters, these do tend toward the darker end of the color spectrum. Still, we weren’t in town to promote traditional hasidic garb, and we’d have much preferred that the article focus on the more substantive parts of our message.

    So one day we left our hats in the car. My partner wore a light grey suit to the interview, and I put on the most light-colored garment I owned–a light-tan plaid sports jacket.

    Sure enough, the next day’s paper ran a full-sized photograph of two hatless, light-jacketed young men posed in front of the newspaper building. One held a pair of tefillin, and the other a Shabbat candlestick. The caption under the photograph read: “Tauber, 21, and Begun, 22, two hasidic rabbis sporting the traditional black hat and long black coat, visit Montana on mission.”

    For the rest:
    http://www.chabad.org/libra

  • 34. c.w wrote:

    mendy i think this is hillarius, i was feeling for you that your BIL is all over the news and you are so quite, BH you are also famous

  • 35. Critical thinker wrote:

    Just take note, all the professionals(aside for one)sitting around the table are dressed in dark suits and white shirts.If you can’t conform to the accepted look of a Lubavitcher Chassid…at least take an example in class from a group of professionals.

    ..I think the work you are doing is amazing.

  • 36. shlomie wrote:

    For all you concerned with the “halacha” of not changing clothing:
    The halacha is that a Jew who is attempting to persuade government officials regarding decrees against the Jewish nation may dress according to the non-jewish custom in order to gain preference. (which means no beard…)
    Certainly, when dealing with Jewish neshamos that may be lost forever one may change the color of his jacket!

  • 37. LL wrote:

    mendy, spiffy suit! did u think it would have this much entertainment value when you wore it???

  • 38. Guess! wrote:

    Mendy, at the next jli class let the picture be of your “socks” and let’s see how many comments you attract with that? This week was a big PR week for the Kornfelds! Whew!

  • 39. gershon wrote:

    Dear Nemo:

    My point in quoting the Medrash was just that. It was the height of irony that someone calling himself by a goyish name should criticise someone for what he refers to as goyish dress. (I am not so sure that a blue shirt is in violation of dressing like a goy.)

    The point was that people in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • 40. Alex wrote:

    what’s with you people?!
    Why can’t you be :“Dan L’kaf Zchus”?
    Maybe he wears a WHITE SHIRT every day, and he just dressed like that for the “SHOW”?!
    Great Job, Keep it up.

  • 41. Mendy-s friend wrote:

    For whoever is still reading these posts. 15 new attorneys and one retired Judge have joined the class since that article ran in the local paper.

  • 42. curious wrote:

    Just noticed the lawyers and judges are dressed in dark suits and light colored shirts. I have no problem with the shliachs attire, but I do think that dark suits are classy and sharp. And proffesional. I like the wall street look. My opinion.

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