web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Must A Judge Return A Bribe?


Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

One of the many halachos written in this week’s parshah is the prohibition for a judge to accept a bribe. The Torah testifies that bribery works and can blind the eyes of the righteous; thus it is forbidden to accept any form of bribery – even for one to judge correctly.

The Rambam writes in Hilchos Sanhedrin 23:1 that if one transgressed and accepted a bribe, he must return the bribe to the one who gave the bribe when it is requested to be returned. The Rambam’s implication is that even though the judge wrongfully took the money, he is not required to return the money until it is requested of him. This differs from most other instances whereby one wrongfully took money from another person. For example, when one steals money from another person the thief is obligated to return the money regardless of whether the victim of the theft requests the money. However, regarding returning a bribe, the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch in Choshen Mishpat (C.M.) 9:1 imply that one is not required to return the bribe unless it is requested of him.

The S’mah (C.M. 9:3) explains that one is not required to return the money if it is not requested of him because it was given to him willingly. Whenever one was wrongfully given money willingly, one need not return it unless it is requested of him. The S’mah continues by saying that there is one exception to this rule: giving interest on a loan. One may not pay interest on a loan; if he does, the lender must return the money. Even though the borrower willingly gave the interest to his lender, the S’mah says that the lender must return the interest payment even if the borrower does not request it from him.

The Taz disagrees with the S’mah and says that the same rule applies to interest payments as well and that the lender need not return the money unless the borrower requests it from him. However, regarding a bribe, both agree that one need not return the money unless it is requested of him.

The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 83) and the Tumim (C.M. 9:2) explain that the reason that one need not return the money that was given as a bribe, unless the one who gave it requests it back, is because since he willingly gave it we consider as if he has forgiven (mochel) the owed money until he requests it back. Once he requests it back we can no longer assume that he is being mochel him the money that is owed him. Therefore, regarding a bribe and (according to several Acharonim) interest payments, one who gave the money willingly is assumed to have forgiven the money until further notice. This forgiveness is not a complete forgiveness, for when one genuinely forgives another person money that he is owed, he cannot later retract his forgiveness. But here it is not a complete forgiveness.

The Rambam (Hilchos Malveh V’loveh 4:13) and the Rush (Baba Metzia 5:2) bring an opinion that states that a borrower cannot forgive his lender from returning the interest payments to him; rather, the lender must return the money even against the will of the borrower. The Rambam and the Rush disagree with this opinion, saying that the borrower may forgive his lender and allow him to keep the interest payment. They explain that this is because once one pays interest the lender is obligated to return the money – as if he had stolen it. When one steals money the one who was robbed may forgive the thief, allowing him to keep the stolen goods, just as one may forgive any debt that is owed him. However, the opinion that the Rambam and the Rush quote, that a borrower may not forgive a lender the interest payment, should also hold that the lender must return the money even if it is not requested of him. This is because the reason that a lender does not need to return the interest until it is requested is because we view this situation to be as if the borrower forgave the lender the money. Yet, according to this opinion, a borrower may not forgive his lender from returning the interest payment. Therefore the lender would be obligated to return the interest even if it is not requested of him, since it could not have been forgiven.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.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.

One Response to “Must A Judge Return A Bribe?”

  1. Mark Peters says:

    I assume that in their minds to give the bribe which they should have never took to a charitable cause.Might I suggest the refugee relief fund for Gaza.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.
Arab Charged with 3 Arson Attempts at Hadassah Hospital, Where He Worked
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

Rabbi-Twersky-112114

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

The implication of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 233:2) is that one may not daven Minchah before six and one half hours into the day.

Some Rishonim are bothered by the opinion of the Rambam that bnei Noach are commanded not to eat basar min hachai.

According to the Raavad if one who is uncircumcised breaks something he will be exempt from paying for it since he was chayav kares at the same time as he was obligated to repay for the item he broke.

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

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/must-a-judge-return-a-bribe/2013/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: