Skip to main content
Beit Din's Gap-Filling Function: Using Beit Din to Protect Your Client
  • Michael A Helfand, Pepperdine University

This article considers how rabbinical courts play an important gap-filling role by providing parties with a forum to adjudicate a subset of religious disputes that could not be resolved in court. Under current constitutional doctrine, civil courts cannot adjudicate disputes that turn on religious doctrine and practice. By contrast, rabbinical courts can resolve such disputes--and the decisions of rabbinical courts can then be enforced by civil courts even as those same civil courts could not resolve the dispute in the first instance. In this way, rabbinical courts--like other religious arbitration tribunals--fill a void created by constitutional law, ensuring that parties to religious disputes have access to an enforceable method of dispute resolution.

  • Beit Din,
  • rabbinical court,
  • arbitration,
  • First Amendment,
  • Jewish law,
  • religious question doctrine,
  • church autonomy
Publication Date
Citation Information
Michael A Helfand. "Beit Din's Gap-Filling Function: Using Beit Din to Protect Your Client" (2014)
Available at: