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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Nine, Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Ten, Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Eleven

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Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Nine

1

When an animal that is pregnant causes damage, the sum of half the damages may be expropriated from the mother and its offspring,1 for the offspring are considered to be part of its body. When, by contrast, a chicken causes damage, the amount due may not be collected from its eggs. [The rationale is that a chicken's] eggs are not considered to be part of its body, but rather separate and distinct from it.2

א

בְּהֵמָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת שֶׁהִזִּיקָה גּוֹבֶה חֲצִי נֵזֶק מִמֶּנָּה וּמִוְּלָדָהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מִגּוּפָהּ. אֲבָל תַּרְנְגלֶת שֶׁהִזִּיקָה אֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִבֵּיצָתָהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַבֵּיצָה אֵינָהּ מִגּוּפָהּ אֲבָל מֻבְדֶּלֶת וּמֻפְרֶשֶׁת מִמֶּנָּה:

2

When a cow that is pregnant gored [another cow], and the calf [of the goring cow] is found at its side, but it is not known whether it had given birth before it gored or not, the sum of half the damages may be collected from the cow [alone]. Nothing may be collected from the calf, unless [the plaintiff can bring proof that it was pregnant when it gored. [The rationale is that] when a person desires to expropriate money from a colleague, the burden of proof is upon him.3

ב

מְעֻבֶּרֶת שֶׁנָּגְחָה וְנִמְצָא וְלָדָהּ בְּצִדָּהּ וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא נָגְחָה יָלְדָה אוֹ אַחַר שֶׁנָּגְחָה יָלְדָה. מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי נֵזֶק מִן הַפָּרָה וְאֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִן הַוָּלָד כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנָּגְחָה הָיְתָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת. שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו לְהָבִיא הָרְאָיָה:

3

[Similarly,] if a bull gores a pregnant cow and we find its calf stillborn at her side, and we do not know if it gave birth to the stillborn calf before it was gored,4 or it gave birth to the stillborn calf because it was gored, [the owner of the bull] is required to pay for [only] the damage to the cow and not the damage to the calf. For when a person desires to expropriate money from a colleague, the burden of proof is upon him.5

ג

שׁוֹר שֶׁנָּגַח פָּרָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְנִמְצָא עֻבָּרָהּ נוֹפֵל בְּצִדָּהּ וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא נְגָחָהּ הִפִּילָה אוֹ מֵחֲמַת נְגִיחָה הִפִּילָה. מְשַׁלֵּם נֵזֶק הַפָּרָה וְאֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם נֵזֶק הַוָּלָד. שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

4

When [an ox] gores a pregnant cow and causes it to miscarry, we do not evaluate the damage to the cow separately and the damage to the calf separately,6 [and obligate the owner of the ox for the total]. Instead, we evaluate the worth of the cow when it was pregnant and healthy7 and compare it to its present worth and that of the body of the fetus. The owner of the ox must pay the difference8 [if it was mu'ad] or half the difference if it was tam.

ד

נָגַח פָּרָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְהִפִּילָה. אֵין שָׁמִין פְּחַת פָּרָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ וּפְחַת הַוָּלָד בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. אֶלָּא שָׁמִין כַּמָּה הָיְתָה הַפָּרָה שָׁוָה כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת וּבְרִיאָה וְכַמָּה הִיא שָׁוָה עַכְשָׁו הִיא וְהַנֵּפֶל שֶׁלָּהּ וּמְשַׁלֵּם הַפְּחָת אוֹ חֶצְיוֹ אִם הָיָה תָּם:

5

If the cow was owned by one person and the calf by another,9 the loss in the fat of the cow [caused by the miscarriage] is owed to the owner of the cow; the loss of the cow's bulk10 is divided between the owner of the cow and the owner of the calf. The carcass of the calf belongs to the owner of the calf.

ה

הָיְתָה הַפָּרָה לְאֶחָד וְהַוָּלָד לְאֶחָד הֲרֵי פְּחַת הַשֻּׁמָּן שֶׁפָּחַת גּוּף הַפָּרָה לְבַעַל הַפָּרָה. וּפְחַת הַנֶּפַח חוֹלְקִין אוֹתוֹ בַּעַל הַפָּרָה עִם בַּעַל הַוָּלָד. וְהַנֵּפֶל שֶׁל בַּעַל הַוָּלָד:

6

[The following rules apply when] one ox was pursuing another ox, and one was damaged. [If the owner of the ox] that was damaged said: "It was your ox that caused the damage," and [the owner of the other ox] said, "I do not know, perhaps it was damaged by a rock,"11 the burden of proof is upon the one who wishes to exact payment. [This ruling applies] even though the one whose property was damaged states: "I am certain [that your ox caused the damages], and the other person says: "I do not know." If the person whose property was damaged claims: "You certainly know that your ox caused the damage,"12 if [his ox] was mu'ad, [the other person] is required to take a Rabbinic oath that he does not know [that his ox caused the damage]. If, however, [his ox] was tam, he is not required to take a Rabbinic oath. [The rationale is that] even if he admitted [that his ox had caused the damage], he would not be liable. For the liability for half the damages is a fine,13 and a person who admits culpability for a fine [when there are no witnesses to obligate him] is not liable.

ו

שׁוֹר שֶׁהָיָה רוֹדֵף אַחַר שׁוֹר אַחֵר וְהֻזַּק. הַנִּזָּק אוֹמֵר שׁוֹרְךָ הִזִּיק וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁמָּא בְּסֶלַע לָקָה. הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַנִּזָק אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ בְּוַדַּאי וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. טָעַן הַנִּזָּק וְאָמַר וַדַּאי אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁשּׁוֹרְךָ הִזִּיק הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אִם הָיָה מוּעָד. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה תָּם פָּטוּר אַף מִשְּׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הוֹדָה מֵעַצְמוֹ פָּטוּר שֶׁחֲצִי נֵזֶק קְנָס הוּא וּמוֹדֶה בִּקְנָס פָּטוּר הוּא:

7

[A person whose ox was damaged has no legal redress in the following instance.] Two [oxen belonging to two separate owners] were pursuing a third ox. Witnesses saw that one of the oxen caused the third ox damage, but were not able to identify which ox caused the damage. [Since] one of the owners claims, "Your ox caused the damage," and the other claims, "Your ox caused the damage," neither is liable. If both oxen belong to the same person, he is liable to pay from the body of the less valuable [ox, if that ox is tam].14 If both oxen are mu'adim, he must pay the full amount of the damage from his property.

ז

הָיוּ שְׁנַיִם רוֹדְפִין אַחַר אֶחָד וַהֲרֵי עֵדִים שֶׁאֶחָד מֵהֶן הִזִּיק וְאֵין הָעֵדִים יוֹדְעִים אֵיזֶהוּ מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם. זֶה אוֹמֵר שׁוֹרְךָ הִזִּיק וְזֶה אוֹמֵר שׁוֹרְךָ הִזִּיק שְׁנֵיהֶם פְּטוּרִין. וְאִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁל אִישׁ אֶחָד חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם מִגּוּף הַפָּחוּת שֶׁבִּשְׁנֵיהֶם. וְאִם הָיוּ מוּעָדִין מְשַׁלֵּם נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם מִנְּכָסָיו:

8

When does the above apply? When both oxen are present before us. If, however, one of the oxen died or was lost, and it was tam, [their owner] is not liable even though they both belong to him. For he can tell the person whose property was damaged: "Prove to me that it was the ox that is here that caused the damage, and I will pay you."15

ח

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁשְּׁנֵי הַשְּׁוָרִים עוֹמְדִין. אֲבָל אִם מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן אוֹ אָבַד וְהָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן תָּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן שֶׁל אִישׁ אֶחָד פָּטוּר. שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר לוֹ הָבֵא רְאָיָה שֶׁזֶּה הָעוֹמֵד הוּא שֶׁהִזִּיק וַאֲשַׁלֵּם לְךָ:

9

[Similar principles apply in a case where an ox was damaged by one of two oxen belonging to the same owner.] One of the two oxen that pursued [the damaged ox] was large and one was small. If the person whose ox was damaged claims that it was the larger one that caused the damage,16 and the person whose oxen caused the damage claims that the smaller one caused the damage, [the burden of proof is upon the one who wishes to exact payment].17 [Similarly,] if one of the oxen was tam and the other mu'ad, and the person whose ox was damaged claims that it was the mu'ad that caused the damage,18 and the person whose oxen caused the damage claims that the tam caused the damage, the burden of proof is upon the one who wishes to exact payment.

ט

הָיוּ שְׁנֵי הַשְּׁוָרִים הָרוֹדְפִין אֶחָד גָּדוֹל וְאֶחָד קָטָן. הַנִּזָּק אוֹמֵר גָּדוֹל הִזִּיק וְהַמַּזִּיק אוֹמֵר קָטָן הִזִּיק. הָיָה אֶחָד תָּם וְאֶחָד מוּעָד הַנִּזָּק אוֹמֵר מוּעָד הִזִּיק וְהַמַּזִּיק אוֹמֵר תָּם הִזִּיק. הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

10

If there was no clear proof which of the oxen caused the damage, but witnesses testify that one of the two oxen [owned by this person] caused the damage, the person whose oxen caused the damage must pay the amount he admits.19 If the person whose property was damaged claimed, "You know that the damage was caused by the other ox in your presence,"20 the person whose ox caused the damage must take an oath mandated by Scriptural law.21 He then pays the amount he admitted. [The oath is required] because he admitted a portion [of the claim levied against him].

י

לֹא הָיְתָה שָׁם רְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה שֶׁזֶּה הִזִּיק אֶלָּא עֵדִים מְעִידִים שֶׁאֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵי אֵלּוּ הִזִּיק מְשַׁלֵּם הַמַּזִּיק כְּמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֵר. וְאִם טָעַן הַנִּזָּק שֶׁאַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ וַדַּאי שֶׁזֶּה הִזִּיק בְּפָנֶיךָ הֲרֵי הַמַּזִּיק נִשְׁבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה וּמְשַׁלֵּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוֹדָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדָה בְּמִקְצָת:

11

[The following rules apply when] two oxen were damaged, one large and one small, and there were two oxen that caused the damage, one large and one small. The person whose oxen were damaged claims: the large ox damaged the large ox, and the small ox damaged the small ox.22 The person whose oxen caused the damage, by contrast claims: "No. It was the small ox that damaged the large one, and the large ox that damaged the small one." [A similar dispute arises if] one [of the oxen that caused the damage] was mu'ad and the other tam. The person whose oxen were damaged claims: the ox that was mu'ad damaged the large ox, and the ox that was tam damaged the small ox.23 By contrast, the person whose oxen caused the damage claims: "It was the ox that was tam that damaged the large one, and the ox that was mu'ad that damaged the small one." [In both these instances,] the burden of proof is upon the one who wishes to exact payment. If there is no proof,24 the one who caused the damage is not liable [at all]. To what can this be compared? To an instance where a person claims that a colleague owes him wheat, and the colleague admits to owing him barley. In such a case, [the defendant] is required to take a Rabbinic oath and then is not liable, even for the barley, as will be explained in Hilchot To'en.25If the person whose oxen were damaged seizes possession [of property belonging to the person whose oxen caused the damage], he may take payment for the damages to the small ox from the body of the large ox and may take payment for the damages to the large ox from the body of the small ox, as the person who caused the damages admitted.26 If he did not seize possession [of such property], however, no money at all is expropriated from the person whose oxen caused the damage.

יא

הָיוּ הַנִּזָּקִין שְׁנַיִם אֶחָד גָּדוֹל וְאֶחָד קָטָן וְהַמַּזִּיקִין אֶחָד גָּדוֹל וְאֶחָד קָטָן. הַנִּזָּק אוֹמֵר גָּדוֹל הִזִּיק אֶת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּטָן אֶת הַקָּטָן וְהַמַּזִּיק אוֹמֵר לֹא כִּי אֶלָּא קָטָן הִזִּיק אֶת הַגָּדוֹל וְגָדוֹל אֶת הַקָּטָן. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה אֶחָד תָּם וְאֶחָד מוּעָד הַנִּזָּק אוֹמֵר הַמּוּעָד הִזִּיק אֶת הַגָּדוֹל וְתָם הִזִּיק אֶת הַקָּטָן וְהַמַּזִּיק אוֹמֵר תָּם הִזִּיק אֶת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַמּוּעָד הִזִּיק אֶת הַקָּטָן. הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. לֹא הָיְתָה שָׁם רְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה הַמַּזִּיק פָּטוּר. לְמָה זֶה דּוֹמֶה לְזֶה טוֹעֵן אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ חִטִּים וְהוֹדָה לוֹ בִּשְׂעוֹרִים שֶׁהוּא נִשְׁבַּע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת וּפָטוּר אַף מִדְּמֵי שְׂעוֹרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן. וְאִם תָּפַס הַנִּזָּק הֲרֵי זֶה מְשַׁלֵּם לַקָּטָן מִן הַגָּדוֹל וְלַגָּדוֹל מִן הַקָּטָן כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוֹדָה הַמַּזִּיק. אֲבָל אִם לֹא תָּפַס אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִן הַמַּזִּיק כְּלוּם:

12

When one ox gores [another ox] and then gores a third ox, the owner of the first ox that was gored and the owner [of the goring ox] are considered to be partners.27 What is implied? When an ox that is worth 200 [zuz] gores another ox that is worth 200 [zuz] and the carcass is not worth anything, the owner of the damaged ox is entitled to 100 [zuz from the ox that gored] and its owner 100 [zuz]. If that ox gores another ox that is worth 200 [zuz] and its carcass is of no value, the owner of the latter ox is entitled to 100 [zuz] and the owner of the first ox and the original owner of the ox are each entitled to 50 [zuz]. If that ox gores another ox that is worth 200 [zuz] and its carcass is of no value, the owner of the latter ox is entitled to 100 [zuz], the owner of the second ox that was gored is entitled to 50 [zuz], and the owner of the first ox and the original owner of the ox are each entitled to 25 [zuz]. This pattern is followed in the future [if the ox continues to gore].28

יב

שׁוֹר שֶׁנָּגַח וְחָזַר וְנָגַח שׁוֹר אַחֵר הֲרֵי הַנִּזָּק הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהַבְּעָלִים שֻׁתָּפִין בּוֹ. כֵּיצַד. שׁוֹר שָׁוֶה מָאתַיִם שֶׁנָּגַח שׁוֹר שָׁוֶה מָאתַיִם וְאֵין הַנְּבֵלָה יָפָה כְּלוּם הַנִּזָּק נוֹטֵל מֵאָה וּבַעַל הַשּׁוֹר מֵאָה. חָזַר וְנָגַח שׁוֹר אַחֵר שָׁוֶה מָאתַיִם וְאֵין הַנְּבֵלָה יָפָה כְּלוּם הָאַחֲרוֹן נוֹטֵל מֵאָה וְהַנִּזָּק שֶׁלְּפָנָיו עִם הַבְּעָלִים נוֹטְלִין חֲמִשִּׁים חֲמִשִּׁים זוּז. חָזַר וְנָגַח שׁוֹר אַחֵר שָׁוֶה מָאתַיִם וְאֵין הַנְּבֵלָה יָפָה כְּלוּם הָאַחֲרוֹן נוֹטֵל מֵאָה וְנִזָּק שֶׁלְּפָנָיו חֲמִשִּׁים וְהַנִּזָּק הָרִאשׁוֹן עִם הַבְּעָלִים עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה. וְכֵן עַל דֶּרֶךְ זוֹ חוֹלְקִין וְהוֹלְכִים:

13

When a person whose [ox] was damaged seizes the animal that caused the damage in order to collect half the damages from its body, he is considered to be a paid watchman with regard to any damages it causes. Therefore, if it causes damages, the person whose ox was first damaged is liable, and its owner is not liable. What is implied? An ox that is worth 200 [zuz] gored [another ox], causing damages of 200 [zuz]. The person whose ox was damaged seized [the goring ox] in order to collect the 100 [zuz] that is due him,29 Afterwards, [the ox that caused the damage] gored [another ox], causing damages of 140 [zuz]. The person whose property was damaged last receives 70 [zuz], the person who took possession of the ox because it damaged his property receives the remainder of the damage done to his ox - 30 zuz30 - and the original owner, 100 zuz.31 The same principles apply in other similar situations.

יג

נִזָּק שֶׁתָּפַס בְּהֵמָה שֶׁהִזִּיקָה לִגְבּוֹת חֲצִי נִזְקוֹ מִגּוּפָהּ נַעֲשָׂה עָלֶיהָ שׁוֹמֵר שָׂכָר לִנְזָקִין וְאִם יָצְתָה וְהִזִּיקָה הַנִּזָּק הָרִאשׁוֹן חַיָּב בִּנְזָקֶיהָ וְהַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין. כֵּיצַד. שׁוֹר שָׁוֶה מָאתַיִם שֶׁנָּגַח וְהִפְסִיד מָאתַיִם וּתְפָסוֹ הַנִּזָּק לִגְבּוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ מֵאָה וְחָזַר וְנָגַח וְהִפְסִיד בְּמֵאָה וְאַרְבָּעִים הֲרֵי הַנִּזָּק הָאַחֲרוֹן מִשְׁתַּלֵּם שִׁבְעִים וְהַנִּזָּק הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁתְּפָסוֹ מִשְׁתַּלֵּם מוֹתַר נִזְקוֹ וְהוּא שְׁלֹשִׁים וְהַבְּעָלִים מֵאָה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

14

When two oxen that are tamim gore one another,32 half of the remainder of the damages must be paid to the one whose ox suffered the greater damage. If both oxen were mu'adim or an ox that was mu'ad and a man33 injured one another, the entire amount of the remainder of the damages must be paid to the one whose ox [or the man] who suffered the greatest damage. [The following rules apply if] one of the oxen is tam and one is mu'ad. If [the larger amount of the damage was caused by] the ox that is mu'ad, the entire amount of the remainder of the damages must be paid [to the owner of the tam]. If [the larger amount of the damage was caused by] the ox that is tam, half of the remainder of the damages must be paid [to the owner of the mu'ad.34 What is implied? When one ox that is tam causes 100 [zuz] worth of damage to another ox that is tam, and the other ox causes 40 [zuz] worth of damage to the first ox, the owner of the first ox must pay 30 [zuz] to the owner of the second ox. If they were both mu'adim, the owner of the first ox must pay 60 [zuz] to the owner of the second ox. If the first ox was mu'ad and the second ox was tam, the owner of the first ox must pay 80. If the first ox was tam and the second ox was mu'ad, the owner of the first ox must pay 10.35

יד

שְׁנֵי שְׁוָרִים תַּמִּים שֶׁחָבְלוּ זֶה בָּזֶה מְשַׁלְּמִין בַּמּוֹתָר חֲצִי נֵזֶק. שְׁנֵיהֶם מוּעָדִין (אוֹ מוּעָד וְאָדָם) שֶׁחָבְלוּ זֶה בָּזֶה מְשַׁלְּמִין בַּמּוֹתָר נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם. אֶחָד תָּם וְאֶחָד מוּעָד. מוּעָד בְּתָם מְשַׁלֵּם בַּמּוֹתָר נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם תָּם בְּמוּעָד מְשַׁלֵּם בַּמּוֹתָר חֲצִי נֵזֶק. כֵּיצַד. שׁוֹר תָּם שֶׁהִפְסִיד בְּשׁוֹר תָּם אַחֵר שְׁוֵה מָנֶה וְחָזַר זֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן וְהִפְסִיד בָּרִאשׁוֹן שְׁוֵה אַרְבָּעִים הֲרֵי בַּעַל הָרִאשׁוֹן מְשַׁלֵּם לַבַּעַל הָאַחֲרוֹן שְׁלֹשִׁים. הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם מוּעָדִין בַּעַל הָרִאשׁוֹן מְשַׁלֵּם שִׁשִּׁים. הָרִאשׁוֹן מוּעָד וְאַחֲרוֹן תָּם בַּעַל הָרִאשׁוֹן מְשַׁלֵּם שְׁמוֹנִים. הָרִאשׁוֹן תָּם וְהָאַחֲרוֹן מוּעָד בַּעַל הָרִאשׁוֹן מְשַׁלֵּם עֲשָׂרָה:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., if the body of the animal that caused the damage is not worth half the damage it caused, the remainder may be collected from its offspring. Even if for some reason the cow is not found, the entire sum may be collected from the calf Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 399:1).

2.

It would appear that according to the Rambam, this applies even before the eggs are laid. Even while within the chicken, they are not considered part of its body. The Maggid Mishneh offers a different explanation, stating that while the eggs are within the chicken, they are considered to be part of its body (Ramah, Choshen Mishpat 399:1).

3.

This is a fundamental principle, applicable in many contexts of Jewish business law.

4.

And thus the owner of the bull has no responsibility for the death of the calf.

5.

Even when the owner of the ox does not know whether or not his ox caused the damage, as long as the owner of the cow cannot support his claim with witnesses, the owner of the ox is not liable Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 399:3).

6.

I.e., the difference in value between a living calf and a dead one.

7.

Implied is that when a cow is pregnant it adds weight, which increases its value.

8.

Obviously, a lesser amount.

9.

I.e., the owner had sold the rights to the calf to another person before it was born.

10.

Which appears larger and is therefore worth more Tur and Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 399:5).

11.

Even when it ran into the rock because it was pursued, the other ox is considered to be merely an indirect cause of damage (grama), and the owner is not liable (Sefer Me'irat Einayim 400:1).

12.

And are withholding payment only because you know that I cannot produce witnesses.

13.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 7.

14.

One of this man's oxen caused the damage, and the damage must be paid for from the body of the ox itself. If the damage was worth more than the value of the lesser ox, the owner of the damaged ox can collect only the value of the lesser ox. The rationale is that there is no proof that the damage was caused by the more valuable ox.

15.

Payment for damage caused by an ox that is tam must be expropriated from the body of the ox. If that ox is not present, the damage cannot be collected.

16.

This is significant when the extent of the damages exceeds the value of the smaller ox.

17.

If there are no witnesses present at all (in contrast to the instance described in the following halachah), in both this and the second clause of this halachah the person whose ox caused the damage is not liable at all. For the obligation that he admits (that the smaller ox or the tam) caused the damage, is not the obligation claimed by the person whose ox caused the damage (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Bava Kama 3:11). (See also Halachah 11 and notes.)

18.

This is significant because it determines whether the person receives half the amount of the damages or the full amount.

19.

In this instance, as opposed to an instance where there are no witnesses at all, the owner is obligated to pay the debt he admits, because of the testimony of the witnesses (Maggid Mishneh).The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 400:3) quotes the Rambam's decision. The Tur and the Ramah, however, differ and maintain that if the person whose ox causes the damage makes a definitive claim saying that the other ox caused the damage, he is not liable at all.

20.

I.e., if the owner of the goring ox indeed did not know which ox caused the damage, he could not be held liable for the greater amount. The person whose ox was damaged is, however, maintaining that the owner in fact does know and is concealing the matter so as not to be held liable.

21.

As the Rambam explains, whenever a person admits a portion of a claim lodged against him, he is obligated to support his claim with an oath. He is referred to as a modeh b'miktzat (Hilchot To'en V'Nit'an 1:1).The Ra'avad maintains that an oath is required only in a case when one ox is tam and one ox is mu'ad, for the claim against the tam can be considered to be part of the claim against the mu'ad. When, however, both oxen are tam, the two claims are considered to be unrelated and no oath is required. Rabbenu Asher goes further and considers the claims to be unrelated in both instances. See Siftei Cohen 400:5, which discusses this issue.

22.

This difference is significant if the oxen that caused the damage are tamim, for then the payment is expropriated from the body of the ox, and it is possible that the value of the small ox that caused the damage will be less than that of the large ox that was damaged.

23.

This difference is significant, because when an ox is mu'ad, its owner is responsible for the entire amount of the damages, while when it is tam, only half the damages are required. Needless to say, the full value of the large ox is far more than the full value of the small ox.

24.

If, however, witnesses observed that the oxen belonging to the same owner caused the damage, but were not able to identify which one caused the damage, the owner is obligated to pay the amount he admits, as in the previous halachah (Maggid Mishneh).

25.

Chapter 3, Halachah 10. The rationale is that with regard to the instance when one ox is mu'ad, the defendant does not accept any liability with regard to the claim that the plaintiff makes, and the plaintiff has not made a claim regarding the sum the defendant admits liability for; therefore, the defendant is not held liable.With regard to the instance where both of the oxen are tamim, the defendant is not liable, because payment of half the damages is considered a fine, and a person who admits culpability for a fine is not liable (Maggid Mishneh).

26.

Even the Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 400:3), who view this situation more stringently than the Rambam, accept this principle. Moreover, according to their logic (see Choshen Mishpat 399:3), if there are no witnesses that the plaintiff seized possession of the property of the defendant, the plaintiff may keep an amount equal to his own claim.The above applies only when the plaintiff seizes possession of the defendant's property before taking the matter to court. If, however, he took the matter to court, and the court ruled in favor of the defendant, as the Rambam states, and then the plaintiff seizes the defendant's property, he must return it.

27.

Since the owner of the gored ox is granted a share in the body of the ox that gores, he is also given a share in the responsibility for its damages.

28.

See Sefer Me'irat Einayim 401:1, which notes that generally after goring three times, an ox becomes considered mu'ad, and from that time onward, full damages for the damage caused by the ox must be paid. This complicates the matter.

29.

I.e., half the damages, as required when a tam gores.

30.

I.e., since he was responsible for the ox at the time it caused the damages, he bears the entire financial responsibility.

31.

The Rambam's view is also shared by Rashi (Bava Kama 36b) and Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi, and is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 401:2). Tosafot, Rabbenu Asher and the Tur differ and maintain that the law mentioned in the previous halachah applies in this instance as well. Their view is quoted by the Ramah.

32.

The Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 402:1) explain that the laws mentioned in this halachah apply only when the second ox gores the first after the two oxen have been separated. If, however, directly after the first ox gores the second, the second gores it in return, the owner of the second ox is not liable for the damages. (See also Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 421:13.)

33.

For a man is always responsible for the damages he causes.

34.

In this and the previous clause, the intent of the Rambam's wording requires the clarification of the examples that follow.

35.

I.e., in the latter two instances, one determines the damages to be paid by the mu'ad and those to be paid by the tam and then subtracts one from the other. One does not subtract the amount of the damages caused and then have the owner pay half the remainder if tam, and the entire remainder if mu'ad.

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Ten

1

Wherever1 an ox kills a [Jew],2 whether an adult or a child, whether a servant or a free man,3 whether the ox is tam4 or mu'ad, [the ox] must be stoned to death.5If an ox kills a gentile, it is not executed, for this is their law.

א

שׁוֹר שֶׁהֵמִית אֶת הָאָדָם בְּכָל מָקוֹם בֵּין גָּדוֹל בֵּין קָטָן בֵּין עֶבֶד בֵּין בֶּן חוֹרִין אֶחָד תָּם וְאֶחָד מוּעָד הֲרֵי זֶה נִסְקָל. וְאִם הֵמִית אֶת הָעַכּוּ''ם פָּטוּר כְּדִינֵיהֶם:

2

[Not only] an ox, but any other animal, beast or fowl that kills a human should be stoned to death.6 What is the difference then between an ox that is tam killing a person, and that act being performed by an ox that is mu'ad? [The owner of] an ox that is tam is not liable for the atonement fine, while [the owner of] an ox that is mu'ad is liable,7 when his ox is mu'ad to kill.8

ב

אֶחָד שׁוֹר וְאֶחָד שְׁאָר בְּהֵמָה חַיָּה וְעוֹף שֶׁהֵמִיתוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נִסְקָלִין. מַה בֵּין תָּם שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הָאָדָם לְמוּעָד שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הָאָדָם. שֶׁהַתָּם פָּטוּר מִן הַכֹּפֶר וְהַמּוּעָד חַיָּב בְּכֹפֶר וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מוּעָד לַהֲרֹג:

3

Since every animal, beast or fowl that kills a human being should be stoned to death, how is it possible to find an animal that is mu'ad to kill, so that its owner will be liable to pay an atonement fine?9 It killed three gentiles,10 and then it killed a Jew. For an ox that is mu'ad [to kill] a gentile, is also mu'ad for a Jew.11 Alternatively, it killed three Jews who were classified as t'refot,12 and then killed a healthy person. [Other possible situations are the following:] [On three occasions,] it killed a person and then fled, and it was captured on the fourth occasion. [We must say that it was captured, because] the owners are not obligated to pay an atonement fine unless the ox is executed.13 It mortally wounded three individuals at the same time [and they and the fourth person the ox gored all died at the time]. It killed three animals.14 In all these instances, it is deemed as mu'ad to kill, and the owner is liable to pay an atonement fine. There is also another instance. On three occasions [one of the oxen belonging to a person killed a human]; on each of these occasions, the witnesses recognized the owner, but did not recognize the ox. On the fourth occasion, they saw an ox that killed a person [and were able to recognize it afterwards]. They did not, however, know if this was the same ox that had killed [people] on the three previous occasions or not.[In this instance, the owner of the ox is liable to pay an atonement fine. The rationale is that] since the owner was warned that he had an ox in his herd that had killed [people] on three occasions, he should have guarded all his oxen [more carefully]. Since he did not, he must pay the atonement fine.

ג

וְהוֹאִיל וְכָל בְּהֵמָה חַיָּה וְעוֹף שֶׁהָרְגוּ אֶת הָאָדָם נִסְקָלִין הֵיאַךְ יִמָּצֵא מוּעָד לַהֲרֹג עַד שֶׁיְּשַׁלְּמוּ בְּעָלָיו אֶת הַכֹּפֶר. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָרַג שְׁלֹשָׁה עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ הָרַג יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהַמּוּעָד לְעַכּוּ''ם הֲרֵי זֶה מוּעָד לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. אוֹ שֶׁהָרַג שְׁלֹשָׁה יִשְׂרָאֵל טְרֵפָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ הָרַג שָׁלֵם. אוֹ שֶׁהָרַג וּבָרַח וּבָרְבִיעִי נִתְפַּס. שֶׁאֵין הַבְּעָלִים חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר עַד שֶׁיִּסָּקֵל הַשּׁוֹר. וְכֵן אִם סִכֵּן שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּנֵי אָדָם כְּאֶחָד אוֹ שֶׁהָרַג שָׁלֹשׁ בְּהֵמוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה מוּעָד לַהֲרִיגָה וּבְעָלִים מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר. וְכֵן אִם הִכִּירוּ עֵדִים אֶת בַּעַל הַשּׁוֹר וְלֹא הִכִּירוּ אֶת הַשּׁוֹר בְּפַעַם רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה וּשְׁלִישִׁית וּבָרְבִיעִית רָאוּ שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁהָרַג וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין אִם זֶה הוּא הַשּׁוֹר שֶׁהָרַג בְּשָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת אוֹ אַחֵר הָיָה. הוֹאִיל וְהוּעֲדוּ הַבְּעָלִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם בִּבְקָרָם שׁוֹר שֶׁהָרַג שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים הָיָה לָהֶם לִשְׁמֹר כָּל בְּהֶמְתָּם וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמְרוּ מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר:

4

The Oral Tradition interprets the Torah's statement [Exodus 21:29]: "And its owner shall also be put to death," as implying death by the hand of God [and not execution by a mortal court]. If [the owner] pays an atonement fine for the person killed, he is pardoned. Although the obligation of the atonement fine is for [the owner's spiritual] pardon,15 the property of a person who is obligated to pay an atonement fine is forcefully expropriated, [even] against his will.16

ד

זֶה שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה (שמות כא כט) "וְגַם בְּעָלָיו יוּמָת" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁחִיּוּב מִיתָה זוֹ בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם וְאִם נָתַן כֹּפֶר הַנֶּהֱרָג מִתְכַּפֵּר לוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַכֹּפֶר כַּפָּרָה מְמַשְׁכְּנִין מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בְּכֹפֶר בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ:

5

When an ox belonging to two partners kills [a man], each of [the partners] must pay an entire atonement fine. For each requires a full measure of atonement.17

ה

שׁוֹר שֶׁל שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין שֶׁהָרַג. כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶם מְשַׁלֵּם כֹּפֶר שָׁלֵם שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן צָרִיךְ כַּפָּרָה גְּמוּרָה:

6

If an ox is owned by a person, the adjudication of the ox must be concluded in its owner's presence. If the ox does not have an owner - e.g., a wild ox, an ox that was consecrated, an ox belonging to a convert who died without leaving any heirs - it should be executed [if it kills a human], and its judgment is concluded despite the fact that it lacks an owner. Similarly, an ox belonging to a woman, a minor,18 or a guardian19 is stoned [if it kills a human]. The guardians are not required to pay the atonement fine,20 for that fine is [as implied by its name] for the purpose of atonement. Minors, deaf mutes and mental incompetents are not men of responsibility who require atonement.21

ו

אֵין גּוֹמְרִין דִּינוֹ שֶׁל שׁוֹר אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי בְּעָלָיו אִם הָיוּ לוֹ בְּעָלִים. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הָיוּ לוֹ בְּעָלִים כְּגוֹן שׁוֹר הַמִּדְבָּר וְשׁוֹר שֶׁל הֶקְדֵּשׁ וְשׁוֹר שֶׁל גֵּר שֶׁמֵּת וְאֵין לוֹ יוֹרְשִׁין אִם הֵמִית הֲרֵי זֶה נִסְקָל וְגוֹמְרִין דִּינוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בְּעָלִים. וְכֵן שׁוֹר הָאִשָּׁה וְשׁוֹר הַיְתוֹמִים וְשׁוֹר הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפְּסִים שֶׁהֵמִיתוּ נִסְקָלִין. וְאֵין הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפְּסִים מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר שֶׁהַכֹּפֶר כַּפָּרָה הוּא וְאֵין הַקְּטַנִּים וְהַחֵרְשִׁים וְהַשּׁוֹטִים בְּנֵי חִיּוּב כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ צְרִיכִין כַּפָּרָה:

7

When an ox that is a t'refah or an ox belonging to a person who is t'refah kills a human, the ox is not executed.22 [This is derived from Exodus 21:29:] "And its owner shall also be put to death." [This is interpreted to mean] that a parallel is established between the owner and the ox being put to death. Since the owner is [already] considered as if he is dead and need not be put to death [by God], so too, the ox is not held liable.

ז

שׁוֹר שֶׁהוּא טְרֵפָה שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה הַשּׁוֹר שֶׁל אָדָם טְרֵפָה אֵינוֹ נִסְקָל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא כט) "וְגַם בְּעָלָיו יוּמָת" כְּמִיתַת הַבְּעָלִים כָּךְ מִיתַת הַשּׁוֹר. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁבְּעָלָיו כְּמֵת הֵם חֲשׁוּבִים וְאֵינָן צְרִיכִין מִיתָה הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר:

8

When a person sets a dog upon a colleague, and [the dog] kills him, the dog is not stoned to death. The same law applies if he sets another animal or beast upon him.23 If, however, he sets a snake upon him, even if he actually places the snake's mouth on the other person, the snake is stoned to death. [The rationale is that] the snake releases the lethal venom on its own volition. For this reason, the person who sets the snake upon a colleague is not liable to be executed by [an earthly] court.

ח

הַמְשַׁסֶּה כֶּלֶב בַּחֲבֵרוֹ וַהֲרָגוֹ אֵין הַכֶּלֶב נִסְקָל. וְכֵן אִם גֵּרָה בּוֹ בְּהֵמָה אוֹ חַיָּה וַהֲרָגוּהוּ. אֲבָל אִם שִׁסָּה בּוֹ נָחָשׁ וַאֲפִלּוּ הִשִּׁיכוֹ בּוֹ וַהֲרָגוֹ הַנָּחָשׁ נִסְקָל. שֶׁאֶרֶס הַנָּחָשׁ שֶׁמֵּמִית מֵעַצְמוֹ מְקִיאוֹ לְפִיכָךְ זֶה הָאָדָם שֶׁהִשִּׁיךְ בּוֹ נָחָשׁ פָּטוּר מִמִּיתַת בֵּית דִּין:

9

An animal that kills [a person] is not stoned to death unless it had the intent to kill a person for whom it would be executed.24 If, however, an ox intended to kill an animal and instead killed a human being, it intended to kill a gentile and instead killed a Jew, or it intended to gore a stillborn child and instead killed an ordinary child, [the ox] is not executed.25 If [the ox] was mu'ad, the owners are liable to pay the atonement fine or the fine paid for killing a servant. [This applies] even [if the ox] killed unintentionally. [The owners are held responsible] because [the ox] is mu'ad [to kill].

ט

אֵין הַבְּהֵמָה נִסְקֶלֶת אִם הֵמִיתָה עַד שֶׁנִּתְכַּוְּנָה לְהַזִּיק לְמִי שֶׁהִיא חַיֶּבֶת עָלָיו סְקִילָה. אֲבָל שׁוֹר שֶׁהָיָה מִתְכַּוֵּן לַהֲרֹג אֶת הַבְּהֵמָה וְהָרַג אֶת הָאָדָם. נִתְכַּוִּן לְעַכּוּ''ם וְהָרַג לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. נִתְכַּוֵּן לִנְפָלִים וְהָרַג בֶּן קַיָּמָא. פָּטוּר מִן הַמִּיתָה. וְאִם הָיָה מוּעָד הַבְּעָלִים חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר. אוֹ בִּקְנָס אִם הֵמִית עֶבֶד. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָרַג בְּלֹא כַּוָּנָה הוֹאִיל וְהוּא מוּעָד לָזֶה:

10

[The owner of an ox is liable to pay an atonement fine in the following instances. An ox] was mu'ad to leap on people in pits. It saw a vegetable in a pit, leapt into the pit, [and fell] on a person there and killed him. It was mu'ad to rub itself against walls and knock them over onto people, and it rubbed itself against a wall for its own benefit, and caused the wall to fall on a person and kill him. [In both these instances,] the ox is not liable to be executed, because it did not intend to kill. The owners are, nevertheless, liable for the atonement fine, because the ox is mu'ad to leap into pits on people or to knock walls over onto them.26 How can we know whether any animal is rubbing itself against a wall for its own benefit? If it continues rubbing itself after it knocks the wall down and kills.

י

הָיָה מוּעָד לִפּל עַל בְּנֵי הָאָדָם בְּבוֹרוֹת וְרָאָה יָרָק בַּבּוֹר וְנָפַל לַבּוֹר בִּשְׁבִיל הַיָּרָק וְהָיָה שָׁם אָדָם וּמֵת. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מוּעָד לְהִתְחַכֵּךְ בַּכְּתָלִים וּלְהַפִּיל עַל בְּנֵי אָדָם וְנִתְחַכֵּךְ בַּכֹּתֶל לַהֲנָאָתוֹ וְנָפַל עַל אָדָם וּמֵת מֵחֲמַת חִכּוּכוֹ. הַשּׁוֹר פָּטוּר מִמִּיתָה לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהָמִית וְהַבְּעָלִים חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה מוּעָד לִפּל בְּבוֹרוֹת עַל בְּנֵי אָדָם אוֹ לְהַפִּיל עֲלֵיהֶם הַכְּתָלִים. וְהֵיאַךְ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁנִּתְחַכֵּךְ לַהֲנָאָתוֹ. כְּשֶׁנִּתְחַכֵּךְ לְאַחַר שֶׁהִפִּיל וְהֵמִית:

11

The owners are not liable to pay the atonement fine unless their animal kills [the person] outside their property. If, however, [their animal] kills [a person] in a domain belonging to [the owner of the animal], the owner is not liable for the atonement fine,27 although the animal is stoned to death. What is implied? If a person enters a courtyard belonging to a person without his permission28 - even if he enters to demand payment for wages or a debt [owed to him]29 - and an ox belonging to the owner of the courtyard gores him and kills him, the ox should be stoned to death. The owner is, however, free from the atonement fine, because [the deceased] did not have permission to enter his property without his consent.

יא

אֵין הַבְּעָלִים מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר עַד שֶׁתָּמִית בְּהֶמְתָּן חוּץ מֵרְשׁוּתָן. אֲבָל אִם הֵמִית בִּרְשׁוּת הַמַּזִּיק אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בִּסְקִילָה הַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין מִן הַכֹּפֶר. כֵּיצַד. הַנִּכְנָס לַחֲצַר בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ נִכְנַס לִתְבֹּעַ שְׂכָרוֹ אוֹ חוֹבוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ וּנְגָחוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת וּמֵת. הַשּׁוֹר בִּסְקִילָה וְהַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין מִן הַכֹּפֶר. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לוֹ רְשׁוּת לִכָּנֵס לִרְשׁוּתוֹ שֶׁל זֶה שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ:

12

[The owner is not required to pay an atonement fine in the following situation. A person] stood at the entrance and called to the owner, and the latter said: "Yes." [The guest] entered and he was gored by an ox belonging to the owner. The owner is not liable. For "yes" does [not necessarily] mean [more than] "Stand where you are, until I [come] to speak to you."

יב

עָמַד בַּפֶּתַח וְקָרָא לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת וְאָמַר לוֹ הֵן. וְנִכְנַס וּנְגָחוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הֲרֵי הַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין. שֶׁאֵין מַשְׁמַע הֵן אֶלָּא עֲמֹד בִּמְקוֹמְךָ עַד שֶׁאֲדַבֵּר עִמְּךָ:

13

When an animal enters a courtyard belonging to another person and kills a child by treading on it as it proceeds, the owner [of the animal] must pay an atonement fine. [The rationale is that an animal is considered to be] mu'ad to tread on things as it proceeds, and in the domain of another person [the owner of animal] is liable for the damages it causes by eating or treading, as explained.30 Thus, one can conclude: When an animal that is mu'ad kills intentionally, it should be stoned to death, and the owners must pay the atonement fine. If it killed unintentionally, it is not liable to be executed, but the owners must pay the atonement fine. When [an animal that is] tam kills unintentionally, it is not liable to be executed, nor must the owners pay the atonement fine. If it intended to kill, it should be stoned to death. The owners, however, are not liable for the atonement fine or for the fine paid for killing a servant.

יג

בְּהֵמָה שֶׁנִּכְנְסָה לַחֲצַר הַנִּזָּק וְדָרְסָה עַל גַּבֵּי תִּינוֹק דֶּרֶךְ הִלּוּכָהּ וַהֲרָגַתְהוּ הַבְּעָלִים מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר שֶׁהָרֶגֶל מוּעֶדֶת לְהַזִּיק בְּדֶרֶךְ הִלּוּכָהּ וּבִרְשׁוּת הַנִּזָּק חַיָּב אַף עַל הַשֵּׁן וְעַל הָרֶגֶל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. נִמְצֵאתָ לָמֵד שֶׁהַמּוּעָד שֶׁהֵמִית בְּכַוָּנָה נִסְקָל וְהַבְּעָלִים חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר וְאִם הֵמִית שֶׁלֹּא בְּכַוָּנָה פָּטוּר מִן הַמִּיתָה וְהַבְּעָלִים חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר. וְתָם שֶׁהֵמִית שֶׁלֹּא בְּכַוָּנָה פָּטוּר מִן הַמִּיתָה וּמִן הַכֹּפֶר. וְאִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהָמִית נִסְקָל וְהַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין מִן הַכֹּפֶר וְכֵן מִקְּנָס שֶׁל עֶבֶד:

14

It appears to me31 that even though [the owner of an ox that is] tam that killed a servant or a maid-servant intentionally is not liable for the fine of 30 selaim mentioned in the Torah,32 if it killed [a servant or maid-servant] unintentionally,33 [the owner] must pay half the value of the servant or the maid-servant from the body of the ox, as if [the ox] had killed another ox or donkey belonging to his colleague.34

יד

נִרְאֶה לִי שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַתָּם שֶׁהֵמִית בְּכַוָּנָה עֶבֶד אוֹ שִׁפְחָה פָּטוּר מִן הַקְּנָס שֶׁהוּא שְׁלֹשִׁים סֶלַע הַכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה. אִם הֵמִית שֶׁלֹּא בְּכַוָּנָה מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי דְּמֵי הָעֶבֶד אוֹ חֲצִי דְּמֵי הַשִּׁפְחָה מִגּוּפוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הֵמִית שׁוֹר חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ חֲמוֹרוֹ:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., in either a private domain or the public domain.

2.

This law applies only when the animal kills intentionally, as stated in Halachot 9-10 (Kessef Mishneh).

3.

The universality of this law is explicitly stated in Exodus 21:29-32: If it kills a man or a woman, the ox must be stoned.... This law also applies if it gores a boy or a girl. If it gores a servant... or a maid-servant... the ox should be stoned.

4.

Exodus 21:28 states that this penalty should be given to an ox that is tam, and the following verse speaks about a mu'ad.

5.

See The Guide for the Perplexed, Volume III, Chapter 40, which states that this sentence is not considered punishment to the animal that killed the person, but rather punishment for its owner, so that he will know to restrain his animals. Some of the laws of this chapter (e.g., Halachot 6 and 8) indicate, however, that the intent is to kill an animal that is prone to kill.

6.

The verse mentions an ox because it speaks about situations that are most probable.

7.

Exodus 21:28, which speaks about an ox that is tam, states: the owner will not be punished. The following verses, which speak about a mu'ad, state that the owner will pay an atonement fine. The nature of that fine is discussed in the following chapter.

8.

I.e., that the owner was warned three times that his ox killed (or came close to killing) an animal or a man, as mentioned in the following halachah.

9.

I.e., the animal should seemingly have been executed after he killed one human being. How was it possible for him to kill three?

10.

In which case it is not obligated to be executed, as stated in Halachah 1.

11.

The Maggid Mishneh questions the Rambam's ruling, noting that although Bava Kama 41a, the source for this halachah, mentions this resolution (and the following one), according to the commonly accepted version of the Talmud, it appears that these hypotheses are rejected. The Maggid Mishneh explains that most likely the Rambam possessed a different version of this Talmudic passage.

12.

The word t'refah refers to an infirmity that will cause the person (or animal) possessing it to die within a year. Since the person will die anyway, the ox is not executed for killing him (Bava Kama, loc. cit.).

13.

There are exceptions to this principle, as reflected in Halachot 9 and 10.

14.

In Chapter 6, Halachah 8, the Rambam states that an ox that is mu'ad with regard to a human is not mu'ad with regard to an animal. From that, we can derive that an animal that is mu'ad with regard to an animal is not mu'ad with regard to a human.This does not necessarily represent a contradiction to this halachah. For there, the Rambam is speaking about causing damage, and here we are speaking about causing death (Kessef Mishneh).

15.

And it is not a monetary obligation imposed by civil law.

16.

With regard to a sin offering or a guilt offering that also comes for the purpose of atonement, we do not find an obligation to expropriate the sacrifice from the person's property. Nevertheless, it is possible to explain that since the atonement fine is paid to a colleague, and not offered in the Temple, people might view its obligation more laxly. See Lechem Mishneh.

17.

This is a reflection of the concept that this fine is not recompense for the person's death, but rather a means for the person who caused his death to attain atonement.

18.

For whom a guardian was not appointed.

19.

The intent is an ox belonging to a minor, deaf mute or mentally incompetent person that was entrusted to a guardian for safekeeping.

20.

In contrast to the damages an ox in their care causes, for which they are required to reimburse the party whose property was damaged, as stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 4.

21.

All of these individuals are considered to be mentally incompetent and are not held responsible for any aspect of their conduct.

22.

The Ra'avad writes that if an ox kills a person in the presence of a court, it is executed. The leniency applies only when it kills in the presence of witnesses.The Ra'avad's statement is based on a comparison to a human being. When a human being who is t'refah kills another human in the presence of witnesses, he cannot be executed, because there is no way that the witnesses can be disqualified through the laws of hazamah. When, however, he kills in the presence of a court, there is no need for the testimony of witnesses, and the court is charged to obliterate the evil from your midst. (See Hilchot Rotzeach 2:9.)The Maggid Mishneh does not accept this equation, because he maintains that the obligation to obliterate evil applies with regard to a man who performs an evil act and not to an ox.

23.

The rationale is that the animal is not considered to have killed as a result of its own tendency, but in response to prompting by the other person.

24.

If, however, it intended to kill one Israelite, and instead it killed another, it is executed (Maggid Mishneh). There is a debate among our Sages (Bava Kama 44b) regarding both a human and an ox who kills with such an intent. With regard to a human, the Rambam rules that the killer is not liable for execution (see Hilchot Rotzeach, ch. 4), while with regard to an ox, he rules that it should be executed. See the Ra'avad and the Kessef Mishneh to Hilchot Rotzeach.

25.

Our Sages (ibid.) derive this law from the parallel established between the owner and the ox being put to death mentioned in Halachah 6. Since a human being would not be executed for killing in such a manner, the animal is also not executed.

26.

And the owners should therefore have watched it to prevent this from happening.

27.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 7.

28.

If the owner grants his consent, he is liable for the atonement fine if his ox kills the visitor.

29.

The Maggid Mishneh and others note that Bava Kama 33a appears to present a difficulty to the Rambam's ruling. Several resolutions are, however, offered.

30.

Chapter 1, Halachot 5,7.

31.

This expression indicates a conclusion drawn by the Rambam that has no explicit source in the works of our Sages.

33.

If it killed the servant intentionally, the law requires that the ox be stoned to death, and no benefit to be derived from it. Thus it is impossible to exact payment from its carcass. When, however, it kills unintentionally, it is not stoned and remains the property of its owner.

34.

The Rambam's rationale can be described as follows: If an ox kills a Jewish male or female, the owner is not obligated to pay damages, because the case is considered to involve capital matters. A servant, by contrast, is considered to be his owner's property, and therefore, just as the owner of an ox that is tam must pay half the cost of any damages caused by his ox, so too, he is liable for half of these damages.

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Eleven

1

How much is the atonement fine? The amount the judges evaluate as being the worth of the person who was killed; everything depends on his worth, as [implied by Exodus 21:30]: "And he shall give the ransom of his1 soul according to all that will be imposed upon him." The atonement fine for a servant, whether an adult or a minor, whether a male or a female, is the amount determined by the Torah: 30 selaim2 of fine3 silver. [This applies] whether the servant was worth 100 maneh4 or only one dinar.If a servant is lacking only a bill of release,5 a fine is not imposed, for he does not have a master, for he has already attained his freedom.

א

כַּמָּה הוּא הַכֹּפֶר. כְּמוֹ שְׁרָאוּ הַדַּיָּנִין שֶׁהוּא דְּמֵי הַנֶּהֱרָג הַכּל לְפִי שָׁוְיוֹ שֶׁל נֶהֱרָג שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא ל) "וְנָתַן פִּדְיֹן נַפְשׁוֹ כְּכל אֲשֶׁר יוּשַׁת עָלָיו". וְכֹפֶר הָעֲבָדִים בֵּין גְּדוֹלִים בֵּין קְטַנִּים בֵּין זְכָרִים בֵּין נְקֵבוֹת הוּא הַקְּנָס הַקָּצוּב בַּתּוֹרָה שְׁלֹשִׁים סֶלַע כֶּסֶף יָפֶה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה הָעֶבֶד שָׁוֶה מֵאָה מָנֶה בֵּין שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה אֶלָּא דִּינָר. וְכָל הַמְעֻכָּב גֵּט שִׁחְרוּר אֵין לוֹ קְנָס הוֹאִיל וְאֵין לוֹ אָדוֹן שֶׁהֲרֵי יָצָא לְחֵרוּת:

2

To whom is the atonement fine paid? To the heirs of the deceased. If a woman is killed, the atonement fine is paid to her heirs [as though she had not married], and not to her husband.6 If a person who is half a servant, and half a freed man7 is killed, half of the fine should be given to the owner, and the other half is fit to be given, but there is no one to take it.8

ב

לְמִי נוֹתְנִין הַכֹּפֶר. לְיוֹרְשֵׁי הַנֶּהֱרָג. וְאִם הֵמִית אִשָּׁה הַכֹּפֶר לְיוֹרְשֶׁיהָ מֵאָבִיהָ וְאֵינוֹ לַבַּעַל. הֵמִית מִי שֶׁחֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין נוֹתֵן חֲצִי קְנָס לְרַבּוֹ וְהַחֵצִי הָאַחֵר רָאוּי לִתֵּן וְאֵין מִי יִקָּחֶנּוּ:

3

When an ox gores a pregnant woman and causes her to miscarry, its owners are not liable for the value of the fetus. [This law applies] even when the ox is mu'ad to gore. For the obligation [stated in] the Torah to pay for the value of the fetus applies only when it is a human who causes the damages.9

ג

שׁוֹר שֶׁנָּגַח אִשָּׁה וְיָצְאוּ יְלָדֶיהָ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מוּעָד לִגַּח הַבְּעָלִים פְּטוּרִין מִדְּמֵי וְלָדוֹת. שֶׁלֹּא חִיְּבָה תּוֹרָה בִּדְמֵי וְלָדוֹת אֶלָּא לָאָדָם:

4

If, however, an ox [that is mu'ad] gores a maid-servant and causes her to miscarry, [the owner] is required to pay for the value of the fetus. For this is equivalent to having gored a pregnant donkey.10 If the ox is tam, [the owner] must pay half the value of the fetus from the body of the ox.

ד

נָגַח שִׁפְחָה וְיָצְאוּ יְלָדֶיהָ מְשַׁלֵּם דְּמֵי וְלָדוֹת. שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁנָּגַח חֲמוֹר מְעֻבֶּרֶת. וְאִם הָיָה תָּם מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי דְּמֵי וְלָדוֹת מִגּוּפוֹ:

5

How is this sum evaluated? We assess the value of this maid-servant when she was pregnant, and how much she is worth now.11 [The owner of the ox] must pay [the owner of the maid-servant] the difference or half the difference.12 If [the ox] kills the maid-servant, [despite the fact that she is pregnant, its owner] need pay only the fine determined by the Torah, as we have explained.13

ה

כֵּיצַד שָׁמִין אוֹתָהּ. אוֹמְדִין כַּמָּה הָיְתָה שִׁפְחָה זוֹ שָׁוָה כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה מְעֵבֶּרֶת וְכַמָּה הִיא שָׁוָה עַתָּה וְנוֹתֵן לִבְעָלֶיהָ הַפְּחָת אוֹ חֶצְיוֹ. וְאִם הֵמִית הַשִּׁפְחָה מְשַׁלֵּם הַכֹּפֶר הַקָּצוּב בַּתּוֹרָה בִּלְבַד כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

6

When an ox intended to gore an animal and instead gored a man, [the owner is not liable], even if the man dies, as explained.14 Nevertheless, if [the ox] injures him, [the owner of the ox] is liable for the damages.15 If the ox is tam, he should pay half the damages from the body of the ox. If it is mu'ad, he must pay the entire amount of the damages.16

ו

שׁוֹר שֶׁנִּתְכַּוֵּן לִבְהֵמָה וְנָגַח אֶת הָאָדָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאִם הֱמִיתוֹ פָּטוּר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ אִם חָבַל בּוֹ חַיָּב בְּנֵזֶק. וְאִם תָּם הוּא מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי נֵזֶק מִגּוּפוֹ. וְאִם מוּעָד נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם:

7

When an ox that is tam kills [a man] and then causes damage,17 it is sentenced to execution, but there is no financial claim on its owners.18 If an ox that is mu'ad kills and then causes damage, the liability [resulting from the damages] is determined,19 and then it is sentenced to execution. If it is sentenced to execution first, the liability [resulting from the damages] is determined afterwards.

ז

שׁוֹר תָּם שֶׁהֵמִית וְהִזִּיק דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת וְאֵין דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת. וּמוּעָד שֶׁהֵמִית וְהִזִּיק דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְחוֹזְרִין וְדָנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת. קָדְמוּ וְדָנוּהוּ דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת תְּחִלָּה חוֹזְרִין וְדָנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת:

8

How is this money collected? From the profit that will accrue from the labor of the ox after it has been sentenced.20 [This step is taken] because once it is sentenced to be stoned to death, it no longer has owners who are considered liable for the damages it caused.21 If [in the above situation] it was sentenced to death and then it22 fled, no liability [resulting from the damages] is assigned.23

ח

וּמֵהֵיכָן מִשְׁתַּלֵּם מִן הַשֶּׁבַח שֶׁהִשְׁבִּיחַ בִּרְדִיָּתוֹ אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ לִסְקִילָה אֵין לוֹ בְּעָלִים שֶׁיִּתְחַיְּבוּ בִּנְזָקָיו. דָּנוּהוּ דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת וּבָרַח אֵין דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת:

9

When an ox killed a human, and afterwards its owner consecrates it, it is not consecrated.24 Similarly, if he declares it ownerless, it is not ownerless. If he sells it, the sale is not effective. If a watchman returns it to its owner, it is not considered to have been returned.25 If it is slaughtered, one is forbidden to benefit from its meat.26 When does the above apply? After it has already been sentenced to death. If, however, it had not been sentenced to death [different rules apply]. If its owner consecrates it, it is consecrated. If he declares it ownerless, it is ownerless. If he sells it, the sale is effective.27 If a watchman returns it to its owner, it is considered to have been returned.28 If it is slaughtered first, one is not forbidden to benefit from its meat.

ט

שׁוֹר שֶׁהֵמִית אֶת הָאָדָם וְהִקְדִּישׁוֹ בְּעָלָיו אֵינוֹ קָדוֹשׁ. וְכֵן אִם הִפְקִירוֹ אֵינוֹ מֻפְקָר. מְכָרוֹ אֵינוֹ מָכוּר. הֶחֱזִירוֹ שׁוֹמֵר לִבְעָלָיו אֵינָהּ חֲזָרָה. שְׁחָטוֹ בְּשָׂרוֹ אָסוּר בַּהֲנָאָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ לִסְקִילָה. אֲבָל עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִגְמָר דִּינוֹ לִסְקִילָה אִם הִקְדִּישׁוֹ מֻקְדָּשׁ וְאִם הִפְקִירוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא מֻפְקָר. מְכָרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מָכוּר. הֶחֱזִירוֹ שׁוֹמֵר לִבְעָלָיו הֲרֵי זֶה מֻחְזָר. וְאִם קָדַם וּשְׁחָטוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר בַּאֲכִילָה:

10

When an ox [that killed a human] becomes intermingled with other oxen before it was sentenced to death, they are all not held liable. [The rationale is that] just as the judgment of a human being [must be concluded in the presence of that person], so too, the judgment of the ox must be concluded in the presence of the ox.29 If an ox becomes intermingled with other oxen - even 1000 - after it was sentenced to death, they all must be stoned to death.30 It is forbidden to benefit from them, and their carcasses must be buried, as is required whenever an animal is stoned to death.31

י

שׁוֹר שֶׁלֹּא נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בִּשְׁוָרִים אֲחֵרִים כֻּלָּן פְּטוּרִין לְפִי שֶׁאֵין גּוֹמְרִין דִּינוֹ שֶׁל שׁוֹר אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי הַשּׁוֹר כְּדִין הָאָדָם. נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִתְעָרֵב בַּאֲחֵרִים אֲפִלּוּ בְּאֶלֶף כֻּלָּן נִסְקָלִים וְנִקְבָּרִין וַאֲסוּרִין בַּהֲנָאָה כְּדִין בְּהֵמָה נִסְקֶלֶת:

11

When a pregnant cow kills a person - and similarly, all animals that were used for a sinful purpose [that requires their execution]32 - the laws that apply to it apply to its calf.33 For it and its calf gored; it and its calf were sodomized.

יא

פָּרָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת שֶׁהֵמִיתָה אֶת הָאָדָם וְכֵן כָּל בְּהֵמָה שֶׁנֶּעֶבְדָה בָּהּ עֲבֵרָה הֲרֵי עֵבָּרָהּ כָּמוֹהָ. הִיא וְעֵבָּרָהּ נָגְחָה הִיא וְעֻבָּרָהּ נִרְבְּעָה:

12

[The following rules apply if a cow] gored a person to death and then became pregnant: If it became pregnant and bore a calf before it was sentenced to death, the calf is permitted.34 If it bore a calf after the sentence was delivered, the calf is forbidden, for a fetus is considered an extension35 of its mother.36 If [the calf] became intermingled with other calves, they must all be enclosed in a closed room until they die.37

יב

נָגְחָה וְהֵמִיתָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִתְעַבְּרָה. אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִגְמַר דִּינָהּ נִתְעַבְּרָה וְיָלְדָה קֹדֶם גְּמַר דִּין וְלָדָהּ מֻתָּר וְאִם יָלְדָה אַחַר גְּמַר דִּין וְלָדָהּ אָסוּר שֶׁהָעֻבָּר יֶרֶךְ אִמּוֹ הוּא. וְאִם נִתְעָרֵב וָלָד זֶה בַּאֲחֵרִים כּוֹנְסִין אֶת כֻּלָּם בְּכִפָּה עַד שֶׁיָּמוּתוּ שָׁם:

13

When the witnesses whose testimony caused an ox to be sentenced for execution are disqualified because they lied, whoever first takes possession of the ox acquires it as his own. [The rationale is that] once it was sentenced to death, the owners gave up their ownership of it.38 If witnesses testify that the owner [of an ox sodomized his animal] and they were disqualified because they lied, the ox remains the property of its [original] owner. Although another person drew it after him,39 he does not acquire it. [The rationale is that] since the owner knows that he did not sin, and that these are false witnesses, he was planning to have them disqualified. Therefore, he did not give up ownership [of his animal].

יג

שׁוֹר הַנִּסְקָל שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ עֵדָיו כָּל הַקּוֹדֵם בּוֹ זָכָה שֶׁהֲרֵי מִשֶּׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ הִפְקִירוּהוּ בְּעָלָיו. וְאִם הֵעִידוּ שֶׁבְּעָלָיו רִבְּעָהוּ וְהֵזִים אֶת הָעֵדִים הֲרֵי הַשּׁוֹר לִבְעָלָיו וְהַקּוֹדֵם וּמְשָׁכוֹ לֹא זָכָה בּוֹ שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהַבַּעַל יוֹדֵעַ בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא חָטָא וְשֶׁאֵלּוּ עֵדֵי שֶׁקֶר הֵם וַהֲרֵי הוּא מְיַחֵל לַהֲזִימָם לֹא הִפְקִיר:

Footnotes
1.

The antecedent of the pronoun his is a matter of debate among our Sages (Bava Kama 40a), who debated whether it refers to the soul of the owner or that of the person who was killed. According to the Rambam, there are dimensions of both opinions that are relevant. As evident from the previous chapter, by paying the atonement fine the owner of the ox is ransoming his own soul. On the other hand, as the Rambam states in this halachah and in Chapter 10, Halachah 4, the atonement fine is for the person killed, and the amount is determined according to the worth of the person who was killed.

2.

See Exodus 21:32. A sela is equivalent to four dinarim (zuzim).

3.

I.e., pure silver.

4.

10,000 zuz.

5.

E.g., a servant who has been declared ownerless by his master, or one whom his master caused to lose one of the limbs that require his release.

6.

A woman's property is inherited by her husband. He, however, is entitled only to the property that she possesses at the time of her death, but not property that will accrue to her afterwards. For this reason, he is not entitled to the atonement fine. Needless to say, if the woman has already borne children, the atonement fine is given to them.

7.

E.g., a servant was owned by two partners, and one of them freed him while the other did not.Note the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh, who states that this law applies only to a maid-servant, but not to a male servant. The Radbaz (Volume VI, Responsum 2249), however, justifies the Rambam's view.

8.

For the half-servant is dead, and he or she has no heirs. Even if he or she bore children as a servant, they are not considered as the half-servant's sons or daughters.

9.

Exodus 21:22 speaks about men fighting together, and one of them causing a woman to miscarry.

10.

As mentioned at the conclusion of the previous chapter, servants are considered in certain contexts to be no more than their master's chattel.

11.

Our Sages note that there are two elements lost with the miscarriage: a) the fetus, which would otherwise become the owner's property, and b) the fact that while pregnant, a woman looks larger and healthier (Bava Kama 49a).

12.

I.e., if the ox was mu'ad, the owner must pay the entire difference. If it is tam, he must pay half the difference.

13.

See Halachah 1. No extra renumeration is made in consideration of the miscarriage.

14.

Chapter 10, Halachah 9.

15.

Our Sages explain that one might think that although the owner is liable if his ox damages another ox in this manner, he would not be liable for injuring a man. The rationale is that an animal does not have a spiritual source protecting it, while a person does. If injury occurs despite that spiritual protection, one might think that it is willed by God, and therefore the owner of the ox is not liable. (See Bava Kama 2b).

16.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 3.

17.

To a man or to another animal.

18.

For the payment for the damages caused by an ox that is tam must come from the body of the ox itself. In this instance, since the ox must be stoned to death, we are forbidden to benefit from its carcass. Thus, there is no source from which this obligation can be met.

19.

They must pay from resources other than the body of the ox.

20.

I.e., the ox is hired out by the court to work for different people. When enough money accrues to pay for the damages, it is executed.

21.

The Maggid Mishneh explains the Rambam's position as follows. It is clear to the Rambam that once an animal is sentenced to be executed, it is no longer considered the property of its owner, and the owner is not considered responsible for the damages, even if the damages took place before the death sentence was delivered. (It appears that the Rambam considers that the obligation for the damages takes place only after the matter is taken to court.) For this reason, the Rambam maintains that the ox itself should be made to work for the damages.For this reason, the ox will not be executed immediately after being sentenced. Although it is not proper to delay the execution of a human, there is no such principle with regard to the execution of an ox. There are other authorities who differ with several elements of the Maggid Mishneh's interpretation.

22.

I.e., the ox. Rashi interprets Bava Kama 91a, the source of this halachah, as referring to the flight of the owner of the ox.

23.

For the ox is not present to be hired out to work.

24.

Once an ox has been sentenced to death, it is no longer considered to be the property of its former owner.

25.

And the watchman must reimburse the owner for his ox, for he is responsible for it.

26.

See Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 4:22, Hilchot Issurei Mizbe'ach 4:2 and other sources.

27.

The purchaser should slaughter the ox immediately. Otherwise, its meat will become forbidden.

28.

Although the ox will be sentenced to death, the watchman is considered to have fulfilled his obligation, for the owners have the option of slaughtering the ox before it is sentenced to death.

29.

And since the ox cannot be identified, that is not possible.

30.

The animal is not considered to become bateil b'rov, insignificant because it is mixed with a larger quantity of permitted substances. Indeed, even when it becomes mixed with a far larger number of oxen, its identity is never considered insignificant. The rationale is that a live animal is important. And an important entity is never considered to be insignificant (Zevachim 72a; Sanhedrin 79b-80a).

31.

See Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 16:7 and Hilchot Pesulei Hamukdashim 19:11.

32.

This apparently refers to an animal used by a human for sodomy, which must be executed, as stated in Leviticus 20:15. For no other sin is an animal executed.

33.

This follows the principle stated in the next halachah: A fetus is considered to be an extension of its mother.

34.

For it was not part of its mother's body, neither at the time of the killing, nor at the time of the sentence.

35.

Literally the thigh.

36.

And so, just as the sentence caused the mother to become forbidden, it also caused the calf to become forbidden. The calf is not executed, however. Instead, it is left to die.

37.

In this instance as well, all the calves need not be executed. It is, however, forbidden to benefit from them, because the presence of a live animal in a mixture is never considered to be insignificant.

38.

Since the owner of the ox does not know whether or not the ox gored, he is dependent on the testimony of the witnesses. Once their testimony establishes that the ox gored, the owner assumes that it will be executed and despairs of retaining ownership. After he has made such a decision, even in error, anyone has the right to take possession of the ox. A parallel ruling is delivered in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 4:8.

39.

Thus performing the kinyan of meshichah, a formal act of acquisition.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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