web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014
UNRWA School Shelters Rockets (Again!) and Residents in Gaza
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

The midrash says that Pinchas, (this parsha), and Eliyahu, prophet of Kings, are one and the same.

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

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

How can we be certain that any animal can be counted toward ma’asar beheimah when perhaps it is a treifah?

This separation between Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisraelim obligates us to honor kohanim.

The pasuk says that since the halacha concerning a Mechallel Shabbos was uncertain, the mekoshesh was placed in custody until the halacha was clarified.

The question still remains on how to reconcile all of the different drashos that are derived from this pasuk.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: