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ATTORNEY, POWER OF (Harshaah):

An instrument empowering an agent to act on behalf of a principal. The following formula of a Power of Attorney is taken from "Naḥalat Shib'ah," chap. xliv.:

"A memorial of testimony taken before us witnesses whose names are subscribed below. On the......day of the month of......, in the year.......of the creation, there came before us A, the son of B, and he said unto us, 'Be ye witnesses and acquire from me by symbolic seizure ["ḳinyan"] and sign this and give it into the hands of C, the son of D, that it may be unto him for a testimony and as proof that I do this voluntarily and of my own free will. I have given to the said C, the son of D, four ells of ground, and through them and through the aforesaid symbolic seizure, I empower and authorize the said C, the son of D, to be my attorney and representative ["murshah"=empowered, and "entelar"=ήντολεὸς, mandatory], that he may have power and authority to demand and collect the amount which E, the son of F, owes me on a certain instrument of indebtedness which I have transferred to him [my attorney]; "and now acquire it for thyself and all rights under it; and thy hand shall be as my hand; and thy mouth as my mouth; and thy act as my act; and thy release as my release; and everything that thou shalt do concerning the aforesaid debt shall be done as though I had done it myself"'; and thus the aforesaid A, son of B, said to the aforesaid C, son of D, 'Go litigate and acquire and lay out whatever is necessary for thy expense, and whatever shall be decided for thee in court I shall accept whether in my favor or against me, nor shall I have the right to say to thee I have sent thee to benefit me, and not to harm my cause'; and he shall also have power and authority to summon the debtor to court or to compromise with him or to extend the time of payment and to give acquittance. To all the above, the said A, son of B, bound himself by symbolic seizure and by the four ells of ground as aforesaid, and by a hand-clasp, and by an audible statement, and by a lawful oath, and under the sanction of the heavy ban to approve and ratify everything that the attorney may do. This letter of attorney shall not be invalidated nor shall its power be minimized by anything wrongful or detrimental forever; but it shall have permanent force and effect according to the effect of all letters of attorney that are customarily made among Israelites, according to the regulation of our sages of blessed memory, not as a mere 'asmakta' nor as a mere form. And we have taken symbolic possession from A, son of B, on behalf of C, son of D, according to everything that is written and expressed above by an object through which symbolic possession may lawfully be taken; and all is firmly fixed and established." (Signed by two witnesses.)

The Power of Attorney is, like most documents in Jewish law, prepared and signed by the witnesses and not by the parties. By the ceremony of symbolic seizure and by the conveyance of four ells of ground to the attorney, the latter became invested with all the powers specifically defined in the instrument.

The foregoing formula contains all the necessary and formal words required by the law. It enables the attorney to expend money on behalf of his principal in the prosecution of his claim, and whether well or ill spent, he is entitled to be repaid; and it furthermore authorizes the attorney to bring suit, to compromise, to grant an extension of time of payment, and to give a receipt or acquittance to the debtor.

For further explanation of the terms and phrases used in this formula, see articles Sheṭar, Asmakta, Attorney, Deed.

J. Sr. D. W. A.
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