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Refuses The Reprieve

When Rabi Shimon heard this he ordered the officials to stop the execution and to return his son to the court for a retrial.

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But the son turned to his father and to the judges gathered around him and said, “My worthy father and judges! You well know that according to the law a witness must not be believed when after convicting a man he recants his testimony.”

Then turning to his father, he said, “Father, if you desire that the welfare of Israel be strengthened by your hand, then consider me as a threshold upon which you may step without regret. Fulfill your duty and do not lower the respect for the Torah.”

Fulfills The Verdict

The father began to cry with bitter tears as he gave the order to the executioner to proceed with his duties. The falsely accused man was accordingly executed. Rabi Shimon never consoled himself after this tragic event and he then issued his famous edict, “Be thorough in the interrogation of witnesses and be careful in thy words, lest from them they learn falsehood” (Avot 1:9). (Never rely on evidence alone until it is too late to refute it.)

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