If a court case is being tried in the secular court system in Israel (against Halacha), is there an advantage if some laws of Choshen Mishpat (section of Shulchan Aruch dealing with monetary law) are followed, or is it all-or-nothing? [Upon inquiry as to what specifically the querier was referring to, he mentioned a matter of public interest. We fielded that matter privately; publicly, we will discuss the principle.]
Reuven and Shimon had a dispute, and they decided to adjudicate by each picking a judge (Levi and Yehuda), with the stipulation that they could rule based on din (strict law) or peshara (compromise). They agreed (in writing, with a kinyan for finalization) that if the two could not agree on a ruling/settlement, they could pick a third of their choice (“whoever it might be”) to enable a decision. Levi and Yehuda indeed did not agree. They chose Dan according to the above instructions. After a ruling was rendered, Reuven objected, with the claim that he found out that Dan is Shimon’s relative, to which he would not have agreed. Shimon claims that since Dan was accepted and since the instructions were that it could be anyone, this includes even relatives.
Reuven bought a franchise from the sar (the ruling local nobleman) to sell alcoholic beverages, on condition that the sar would forbid his constituents from buying from anyone else, which he did. Shimon bought a franchise from a neighboring sar. Non-Jewish villagers from Reuven’s region have approached Shimon about buying from him, which hurts Reuven’s investment/livelihood. May Shimon sell to them?
A laundry returned the correct quantity of items that had been brought in originally;
however, the customer, Reuvein, later realized that one sheet was not his.
Someone attended a wedding with one coat and, mistakenly, returned with a different
The concern in all these situations is that one is using someone else’s property without
permission. This is called sho’el shelo midaas, borrowing without the owner’s
knowledge, which is usually halachically equivalent to stealing (Bava Metzia 41a; 43b)!.