web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


He Told Me!

Business-Halacha-logo

“Today we will learn about oaths,” Rabbi Dayan announced to his shiur. “There are many sugyos [passages] in the Gemara that deal with imposing an oath.”

Avrumi raised his hand. “I heard that you’re supposed to avoid swearing,” he said. “Then why does the Gemara talk about it a lot?”

“Certainly, a person must take the utmost care when uttering an oath, as the prohibition of swearing falsely is extremely severe,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “As a rule, the phrase ‘I swear’ should be expunged from your vocabulary. However, there are three cases in which the Torah itself imposes an oath in the context of beis din in order to ascertain the truth.”

“For example?” asked Avrumi.

“One case is where there is a single witness,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Let’s say you claim that your friend borrowed $100 from you and he denies the loan. There is a single witness who saw you lend him the money. To contradict the witness and exonerate himself, your friend would have to take an oath that he did not borrow.”

“This makes me think about a case that recently occurred,” Avrumi said. “I wonder what the halacha would be.”

“What was the case?” asked Rabbi Dayan.

“We recently took a class trip to the park to play ball,” said Avrumi. “Afterward, we went to the pizza store for lunch. Most of the class brought money and paid for themselves, but a few didn’t have money and I laid it out for them.”

“OK, so what happened?” asked Rabbi Dayan.

“You can imagine that it was a bit hectic with thirty people all paying at the same time, so I don’t know exactly whom I paid for,” said Avrumi. “My cousin, though, says that he saw me lay out the money for Dov.”

Rabbi Dayan turned to Dov. “What do you say about this, Dov?” he asked.

“I paid by myself; Avrumi did not pay for me,” said Dov. “Furthermore, Avrumi acknowledges that he doesn’t know whom he laid out the money for. He has no right to claim based on what his cousin says.”

“But my cousin is a single witness,” said Avrumi. “Wouldn’t Dov have to swear to contradict my cousin’s testimony?”

“A cousin is a relative who is disqualified from serving as a witness,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Thus, we cannot impose an oath upon his word.” (C.M. 33:2)

“And if it weren’t my cousin, but someone else who is a valid witness?” said Avrumi. “Would Dov then have to take an oath to contradict the single witness, even though I myself don’t know for sure whether he owes me?”

“Generally, a person only needs to take an oath when there is a definite claim against him,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “There are some cases, though, in which our Sages required an oath even on a possible claim.” (C.M. 75:17, 93:1)

“But I’m not claiming Dov might owe me,” argued Avrumi. “I am making a definite claim that he owes me based on the witness! Does that count?”

“There is a dispute among the Rishonim whether the plaintiff must come with a definite claim when a single witness testifies,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Some say that even when there is a witness, a definite claim by the plaintiff himself is required. However, many maintain that a single witness suffices to impose an oath even if the plaintiff himself is unaware of the facts and claims based on the witness, just as two witnesses obligate the defendant even the plaintiff knows about the debt only based on the testimony.” (See Rosh, Shavuos 6:5)

“What does the Shulchan Aruch rule?” asked Avrumi.

“The Shulchan Aruch rules that a claim based on a witness is considered a definite claim that warrants an oath only if the witness actually testifies before us,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “However, if the witness is not present to testify, but just told the plaintiff what happened, it is considered a doubtful claim that does not warrant an oath.” (C.M. 75:21, 23)

“And what my cousin says is meaningless?” asked Avrumi. “I know him well and trust him completely, so there’s no doubt in my mind!”

“That is insufficient basis to impose a Torah oath,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, if you trust him absolutely, some say this is sufficient basis to impose a rabbinic oath, shevuas heses, provided that your relative doesn’t have a vested monetary interest in the case. Others require that he come before the beis din or that there also be some circumstantial evidence against the defendant in order to impose this oath.” (See C.M. 75:23; Shach 75:82-83)

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “He Told Me!”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.
PLO Votes for Suicide by Voting to Cut Security Ties with Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Ki Tisa_lecture

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aaron and  The Golden Calf by James Tissot

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

Rabbi Sacks

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

Business-Halacha-logo

“Halacha differentiates between giving a gift, forgoing a debt [mechila], and granting permission to take something,” answered Rabbi Dayan.

“I don’t accept this,” said Mr. Zummer. “I want you to finish! You’re not allowed to just stop in the middle!”

“That’s what you’re wondering?” laughed Mr. Rubin. “That ring is not mine at all. A relative gave me money to buy it for him.”

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

“The issue is not just logistical,” replied Mr. Kahn. “I thought that halacha requires that the beginning of the adjudication and acceptance of testimony be during daytime.” (C.M. 5:2; 28:24)

A few days, Mrs. Feldman called back. “I would prefer a nice cake rather than the chocolate.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/he-told-me/2013/02/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: