Gilui Daas from Gedolei Torah Regarding Severance Payment

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gilui-daas-severanceIn a new gilui daas, the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah have issued their unequivocal support for all rabbeim and others in klei kodesh to be paid severance by their employers according to halacha. Click here to view the gilui daas.

The Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah include Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rav Avrohom Chaim Levin, Rav Hillel David, Rav Dovid Harris and others.

After taking his position in 1936 as rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tifereth Yerushalayim on New York’s Lower East Side, the hub of Yiddishkeit in America at the time, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l established, based upon his halachic analysis, that when an employee is dismissed in America, the employer must pay hanakah in the form of what is known as “chodesh leshanah,” meaning that the person receives one month’s pay for every year that he worked for the employer. As the recognized posek hador and rabbon shel kol bnei hagolah, this was accepted as standard practice across the United States for many decades.

In recent years, some American dayanim, when faced with a severance-related issue, have decided the din Torah based upon independent opinions and pesharah, as they are unfamiliar with a halachic precedent regarding the standard communal norms. In addition, many rabbonim, rabbeim and others in klei kodesh appear before botei din without any personal knowledge regarding the halachos and obligations of severance and the p’sak of Rav Moshe zt”l. This unfortunate reality is likely due to the fact that while there are many shailos uteshuvos and other seforim that address many areas of halacha, the subject of hanakah and how it has been applied in the United States historically was not discussed in any contemporary published setting until the release last year of a sefer titled “Sefer Chodesh Leshanah,” which presents a clear analysis of the mitzvah of hanakah. (The sefer can be purchased here.)

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Very true.

    There is another halachic fact, that others are unaware of. If a person hired a worker, and then fired the employee due to the employers personal reasons (he doesn’t have a job vacancy anymore; he found someone whom he feels is more suitable etc.) – if he fired the employee too late for him to obtain another job, then the employer is responsible to pay the employee for his lost wages. What is considered too late? Torah Umesorah established many years ago that the twentieth of Adar is the cutoff date.

  2. This does not jive with the realities of the real present business world. Unless you have a “golden parachute” contract, which 99.99% of employees do not – you get usually 2 weeks severance, occassionaly more – but surely no way close to “chodesh l’shanah”.
    So, we will saddle the schools with another high debt that will either cause an old no-longer qualified teacher to continue teaching our kids, or will cause an unfortunate increase to parents tuitions, which are way to high now, as is. Both are sad.

  3. “…Both are sad.”

    It’s the halacha- which G-d fearing Jews accept and practice happily even if it may not be the easiest way of doing things.

  4. Some schools owe the teachers money and fire them so they don’t have to pay their salaries. The plan being teachers are a dime a dozen and they’ll find replacements. That is an avlah.

  5. To Nat,

    Employees in the business world get paid more than Rebbis. A better example would be teachers who I believe get a better pension/severence to compensate for their low wages.


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