Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof: Yes You Should Take Action
Some injustices simply can't be ignored and I'd say this is one of them (see post at imamother, no responses have come in but I think the responses will be interesting). While I tend to let certain things slide when it is my own cheshbon, I feel strongly that when it comes to our children, certain injustices cannot stand and non-payment (or re-negotiated, after the fact partial payment) is one such thing.
As adults, many of us will have to deal with people that are less than yashar and we might choose to certain things slide, oftentimes because we make a calculation that it will cost us more (emotionally, financially, politically, etc) to pursue action. But I believe that as a general rule, I'd say our children need to see that their parents are willing to do whatever it takes to pursue what is right so that 1) our children understand that certain (unfortunately fairly common things) are simply wrong and 2) for the sake of our children's relationship to Torah and Am Yisrael as all of the mi kamocha-lectures cannot undo the damage.
My long time readers might remember a post I wrote based on the chinuch column in the Yated regarding a teacher's accusation that a student asking for payment for babysitting (the next day!) was a form of chutzpah. I find it shameful that children are being brought into shameful cat-and-mouse games of non-payment/late payment that too many adults play. But children? While leadership worries about the internet eroding chinuch (and they have a point!), I'm afraid the initial erosion is in an ethic that is mostly ignored.
I'm certain that pursuing that extra $500 (assuming the first $500 is delivered) is probably a losing proposal should another simple phone call not do the trick. Going to a din Torah over $500 is likely to end up putting the family in the red vis a vis this transaction in the aggregate, although I'm not certain what din Torah fees run (. . . . just basing my assumption on what it cost my friend to have a beit din sit for 1/2 an hour for a get). I hope that if such a thing were to happen to my own children, I would fight tooth and nail to pursue what is owed to them although monetarily it is likely a losing proposal.
Goodluck to the parents and I hope that those that they may have to call as witnesses will understand that this is no time to "turn the other cheek" (a Chrisitian concept that I believe is the opposite of tzedek, tzedek tirdof).