הפקר בית דין הפקר

There is a concept in the Talmud called הפקר בית דין הפקר. This idea is very similar to the principle of eminent domain in American law. This gives special rights to the courts to enact laws for the betterment of society. The betterment of society in Talmudic terminology is referred to as תיקון עולם. Masechet Gittin is filled with numerous examples of תיקון עולם which is enabled by הפקר בית דין הפקר. An example of this would be a case of damages. The Rabbis wanted to devise a deterrent for people to be more careful so as not to cause damage to one another. Therefore, the law was established that one must pay for damages from his most exclusive property. Similarly, they arranged a system to encourage lending by creating a method for repayment of loans. They were allowed to adjust the legal system in a way that would have society running more smoothly with people co-existing in a healthy productive way. The study of Talmud is fascinating as one is able to appreciate the depth of the wisdom of its authors. It is not only the knowledge that they possessed but it is also the sensitivities used in putting it into practice.