web analytics
July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 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)

“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.

Current Top Story
Members of Hamas rally on the Temple Mount - July 3, 2015.
Rioting Arabs Again Keep Visitors Off Temple Mount
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

Business-Halacha-NEW

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

“Is the invoice signed by the students?” asked the principal. “They said they didn’t get the pizza.”

“The answer depends on the terms of the purchase agreement and local customs,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

“I wasn’t really thinking,” replied Levi. “Things in the backyard usually don’t need watching. I also didn’t expect you to be away so long. One thing is clear, though: I never accepted responsibility for the cake.”

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

“A person who borrowed without a written loan document, even in the presence of witnesses, is believed with a heses – rabbinic – oath to say that he repaid,”

During the course of the year, though, political events in the Persian Gulf caused the cost of gasoline to rise. Prices climbed from $2.50 a gallon to $4.00.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: