web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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)

“I should add,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “that nowadays beis din tries to avoid imposing oaths regardless, and works toward seeking a compromise. See if you and Dov can come to an agreement.”

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Car Smashed in A-Tur
4 Women Survive Near Lynch on Mount of Olives
Latest Judaism Stories
Daf-Yomi-logo

A Miraculous Visual Treat
‘They Lifted It Up To Show…’
(Chagiga 26b)

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

What right do I, sinner, have to approach Hashem and request forgiveness?

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Throughout the war, Akiva had several brief furloughs home, and each time exchanged whichever mishnayos volume he had finished for the next in the series.

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Mr. Fisher contacted Rabbi Dayan. “Am I allowed to use money of ma’aser kesafim to pay the shul for an aliyah that I bought?” he asked.

In addition to Yom Kippur, there is at least one other instance when a person may fast on Shabbat – the case of a ta’anit chalom, in which a person wishes to fast to prevent an ominous dream from becoming reality.

Others suggest that one cannot separate Shabbos from Yom Kippur by accepting Shabbos early.

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

Ba’al Shem Tov: “Hashem, too, is crying; as much as He is looking for us, we rarely look for Him.”

When we cry from the heart, someone listens; When we cry on Yom Kippur, God hears us.

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

Mr. Fisher contacted Rabbi Dayan. “Am I allowed to use money of ma’aser kesafim to pay the shul for an aliyah that I bought?” he asked.

Business-Halacha-logo

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

“The Torah states in Parshat Ki-Teitzei: ‘If you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof. I think it’s your responsibility.”

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: