web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 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 »

When To Go To The High Court

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

In this week’s parshah, Shoftim, the Torah teaches the halachos of a zaken mamrei – someone who disagrees with the Beis Din Hagadol of 71 judges, which convenes on Har Habayis. The pesukim say that when there is a matter that is unclear to us in any topic, we must ascend to the Beis Hamikdash and present the quandary to the High Court.

The pasuk says that the Beis Din Hagadol is the final authority and everyone must adhere to its ruling. A beraisa in Sanhedrin 88b says that originally there were no machlokesim in klal Yisrael, for everyone ultimately was obligated to follow the rulings of the Beis Din Hagadol. If a lower beis din could not resolve an issue, the litigants would take the case to a higher beis din until it reached the Beis Din Hagadol. After the Beis Din Hagadol ruled, there was no room for disagreements.

The Rashash asks several questions on this fact. First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict. The halacha is that in order to rule guilty in a death penalty case, there must be at least one judge who believes that the defendant is innocent. If all the judges believe that the man is guilty, he does not receive capital punishment. (The Torah Temimah in Parshas Shemos disagrees with this and says that if all the judges agree that he is guilty, he will be put to death; however, most authorities do not agree with him.) Since the beis din is torn on what to do in this scenario, the members should take their case to the Beis Din Hagadol. Additionally, the halacha requires that in cases of capital punishment, we must always search for ways of vindicating someone who is found guilty.

The Rashash asks a second question. The halacha is that one may not rely on a rov – majority – if there is a way of finding the solution without relying on the rov. For example if one found a piece of meat that he is unsure of where it came from and the rov dictates that it came from a kosher store he may eat it. But if there is way to find out by other means – e.g. asking people who may have been there – then one may not utilize the rov. Why then may one utilize the rov of a regular beis din (following the majority opinion of the judges) when he could find out the actual answer by asking the Beis Din Hagadol?

Tosafos in Baba Kama 27b asks why we do not follow a rov in halachic disputes relating to finances. Why would it be different from following the majority opinion of judges in a financial case. Tosafos answers that following the majority opinion of judges is different, for in that case we view it as if the minority opinion was not even there.

Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, zt”l, explains the Tosafos this way: The way beis din operates is not by following the majority opinion. For example, if 16 judges rule guilty and seven rule innocent, we do not issue a guilty verdict based on the 16 judges who ruled that way. Rather, the beis din in its entirety hands down the verdict. Even the judges who ruled that the man was innocent are part of the beis din that has ruled guilty. The beis din as a whole rules. Rav Chaim says that this is the concept of rubo k’kulo – the majority is considered the entire thing. If one drinks a majority of his cup of wine by Kiddush we consider it as if he drank the entire cup.

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.

No Responses to “When To Go To The High Court”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Does this look like a pro-Israel group?
Minnesota Univ. Student Official Compares Group Backing Israel with KKK
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

Vayeitzei_lecture

There’s a perfect mirror between Jacob running away from Esav to when he reunites with his brother.

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

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

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

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)

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/when-to-go-to-the-high-court/2014/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: