Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Messiah Clause

For the record, I did not have this stipulation for the place I rented in Jerusalem.  Of course, my landlord lived just a few blocks away.
In apartment contracts around the city, there are clauses stipulating what will happen to the apartment if or when the Jewish Messiah, or mashiach, comes. The owners, generally religious Jews living abroad, are concerned that he will arrive, build a third temple, and turn Israel into paradise – and they will be stuck waiting for their apartment tenants' contracts to run out before they can move back...
Because rental contracts are handled privately, rather than by the municipality, there is no count of how many leases in Jerusalem contain such a clause. But although not standard, the Messiah clause is requested enough that every Jerusalem property manager and real estate lawyer contacted by The Christian Science Monitor had heard of it, and all except one had dealt with it firsthand...
But what if the apartment owner says the Messiah has arrived and the renter doesn’t agree? This particular disagreement has come up before in Jerusalem’s history, although it was about 2,000 years ago.
Opinion among the property managers and real estate lawyers was unanimous that their clients would know the Messiah when they saw him. “When he comes, we’ll know.  It’s in the Old Testament," says Mrs. Eiferman. 

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