1

Whenever a person is disqualified as a witness for committing a transgression, he is disqualified if two witnesses testify that he committed a transgression despite the fact that they did not warn him and hence, he does not receive lashes.

When does the above apply? When the person committed a transgression that is universally known among the Jewish people to be a sin, e.g., he took a false or an unnecessary oath, he robbed, he stole, he ate meat from an animal that was not slaughtered in a ritual manner, or the like. Different rules apply, however, if the witnesses see him transgress a prohibition which he most likely violated unknowingly. In such an instance, they must warn him. Afterwards, if he transgresses, he is disqualified.

What is implied? If witnesses saw a person tying or untying a knot on the Sabbath, they must inform him that this desecrates the Sabbath, because most people are unaware of this. Similarly, if they see him performing a forbidden labor on the Sabbath or a festival, they must inform him that the day is the Sabbath or the festival, lest he have forgotten.

Similarly, if a person gambles continually, becomes a the collector of the king's duty, or a tax collector takes more for himself, the witnesses must inform him that a person who does this is not acceptable as a witness. For the majority of the people are unaware of this matter. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. The general principle is: Whenever it appears to the witnesses that the person committing the transgression knew that he was acting wickedly and transgressed deliberately, he is not acceptable as a witness even though he was not given a warning and hence, does not receive lashes.

א

כָּל הַנִּפְסָל בַּעֲבֵרָה אִם הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁעָשָׂה עֲבֵרָה פְּלוֹנִית אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִתְרוּ בּוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁעָבַר עַל דְּבָרִים שֶׁפָּשַׁט בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֵן עֲבֵרָה. כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע לַשֶּׁקֶר אוֹ לַשָּׁוְא אוֹ גָּזַל אוֹ גָּנַב אוֹ אָכַל נְבֵלָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם רָאוּהוּ עֵדִים עוֹבֵר עַל דָּבָר שֶׁקָּרוֹב הָעוֹשֶׂה לִהְיוֹת שׁוֹגֵג צְרִיכִין לְהַזְהִירוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִפָּסֵל. כֵּיצַד. רָאוּהוּ קוֹשֵׁר אוֹ מַתִּיר בְּשַׁבָּת צְרִיכִין לְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁזֶּה חִלּוּל שַׁבָּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁרֹב הָעָם אֵינָן יוֹדְעִין זֶה. וְכֵן אִם רָאוּהוּ עוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בַּיּוֹם טוֹב צְרִיכִין לְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהַיּוֹם שַׁבָּת שֶׁמָּא שׁוֹכֵחַ הוּא. וְכֵן הַמְשַׂחֵק בְּקֻבִּיָּא תָּמִיד אוֹ מִי שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה מוֹכֵס אוֹ גַּבַּאי שֶׁמּוֹסִיף לְעַצְמוֹ צְרִיכִין הָעֵדִים לְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהָעוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר זֶה פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת. שֶׁרֹב הָעָם אֵינָן יוֹדְעִים דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל עֲבֵרָה שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים מַרְאִים לָעֵדִים שֶׁזֶּה יָדַע שֶׁהוּא רָשָׁע וְעָבַר בְּזָדוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִתְרוּ בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה:

2

A person is not disqualified as a witness because of a transgression on the basis of his own testimony. What is implied? A person comes to court and admits that he stole, robbed, or lent money at interest. Although his own statement is sufficient to obligate him to make financial restitution, it does not disqualify him as a witness. Similarly, if he states that he ate meat from an animal that was not slaughtered in a ritual manner or had relations with a woman forbidden to him, he is not disqualified until two witnesses testify concerning the transgression. The rationale is that a person is not deemed as wicked on the basis of his own testimony.

Accordingly, if Shimon testifies that Reuven lent money at interest, and Levi testifies: "Reuven lent me money at interest," Reuven is disqualified as a witness on the basis of the testimony of Shimon and Levi. Although Levi admitted that he borrowed money at interest, he is not deemed as wicked on the basis of his own testimony. Hence, his word is accepted with regard to Reuven, but not with regard to himself.

Similarly, if a person testifies that so-and-so sodomized him, whether against the will of the person sodomized or with his consent, the person sodomized and one other witness can join together and through their testimony have the sodomizer condemned to execution. If a person states: "So-and-so had relations with my wife," he and one other witness can join together and through their testimony have that person, but not the wife condemned to execution. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

If a person testifies: "So-and-so sodomized my ox," he and one other witness can join together and through their testimony have that person condemned to execution. The rationale is that a person is not considered as related to his property.

ב

אֵין אָדָם נִפְסָל בַּעֲבֵרָה עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁבָּא לְבֵית דִּין וְאָמַר שֶׁגָּנַב אוֹ גָּזַל אוֹ הִלְוָה בְּרִבִּית. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּשַׁלֵּם עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ אֵינוֹ נִפְסָל. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר שֶׁאָכַל נְבֵלָה אוֹ בָּעַל אֲסוּרָה אֵינוֹ נִפְסָל עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שָׁם שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מֵשִׂים אֶת עַצְמוֹ רָשָׁע. לְפִיכָךְ רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהֵעִיד עָלָיו שִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁהִלְוָה בְּרִבִּית וְהֵעִיד לֵוִי וְאָמַר לִי הִלְוָה בְּרִבִּית. הֲרֵי רְאוּבֵן נִפְסָל בְּעֵדוּת שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדָה לֵוִי שֶׁלָּוָה בְּרִבִּית אֵינוֹ מֵשִׂים עַצְמוֹ רָשָׁע וְנֶאֱמָן עַל רְאוּבֵן וְאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן עַל עַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁהֵעִיד שֶׁפְּלוֹנִי רְבָעוֹ בֵּין בְּאָנְסוֹ שֶׁל נִרְבָּע בֵּין בִּרְצוֹנוֹ הוּא וְאַחֵר מִצְטָרְפִין לְהָרְגוֹ. פְּלוֹנִי בָּא עַל אִשְׁתִּי הוּא וְאַחֵר מִצְטָרְפִין לְהָרְגוֹ אֲבָל לֹא לְהָרְגָהּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. פְּלוֹנִי רָבַע אֶת שׁוֹרִי הוּא וְאַחֵר מִצְטָרְפִין לְהָרְגוֹ שֶׁאֵין אָדָם קָרוֹב אֵצֶל מָמוֹנוֹ:

3

When two people testify that a person is not acceptable as a witness because he committed one of the abovementioned transgressions and two others come and testify that he repented and renounced his improper conduct or received lashes as punishment for the transgression, he is acceptable. If, however, two witnesses came and contradicted the original witnesses, saying: "He did not commit the transgression and should not be disqualified," there is an unresolved doubt if he is disqualified as a witness or not. Therefore he should not testify, we do not expropriate money on the basis of his testimony, and he should not serve as a judge until he repents.

ג

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל אֶחָד שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל בַּעֲבֵרָה מֵאֵלּוּ הָעֲבֵרוֹת וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְחָזַר בּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלָּקָה הֲרֵי זֶה כָּשֵׁר. אֲבָל אִם בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהִכְחִישׁוּם וְאָמְרוּ לֹא עָשָׂה עֲבֵרָה זוֹ וְלֹא נִפְסַל הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק פָּסוּל. לְפִיכָךְ לֹא יָעִיד וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין מָמוֹן בְּעֵדוּתוֹ וְלֹא יָדוּן עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע שֶׁעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה:

4

Whenever a person was obligated to receive lashes, he is considered as an acceptable witness again when he repents or when he received lashes in court. Other persons who were disqualified as witnesses because of money which they seized or stole must repent even if they made financial restitution. Instead, they are disqualified until it is known that they repented from their evil ways.

ד

כָּל מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב מַלְקוֹת בֵּין שֶׁעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה בֵּין שֶׁלָּקָה בְּבֵית דִּין חוֹזֵר לְכַשְׁרוּתוֹ. אֲבָל שְׁאָר פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת שֶׁהֵן פְּסוּלִין מִשּׁוּם מָמוֹן שֶׁחָמְסוּ אוֹ שֶׁגָּזְלוּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשִּׁלְּמוּ צְרִיכִין תְּשׁוּבָה וַהֲרֵי הֵן פְּסוּלִין עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע שֶׁחָזְרוּ בָּהֶן מִדַּרְכָּן הָרַע:

5

When is it considered that people who lend money at interest have repented? When they tear up their promissory notes on their own volition and manifest complete regret over their actions to the extent that they do not lend money at interest even to gentiles.

ה

מֵאֵימָתַי חֲזָרַת מַלְוִים בְּרִבִּית מִשֶּׁיִּקְרְעוּ שִׁטְרוֹתֵיהֶן מֵעַצְמָן. וְיַחְזְרוּ בָּהֶן חֲזָרָה גְּמוּרָה שֶׁלֹּא יַלְווּ בְּרִבִּית אֲפִלּוּ לְעַכּוּ''ם:

6

When is it considered that dice-players have repented? When they break their dice on their own volition and manifest complete regret over their actions to the extent that they do not even play without monetary stakes.

ו

מֵאֵימָתַי חֲזָרַת הַמְשַׂחֲקִין בְּקֻבִּיָּא מִשֶּׁיִּשְׁבְּרוּ אֶת פַּסִיפְסֵיהֶם. וְיַחְזְרוּ בָּהֶן חֲזָרָה גְּמוּרָה שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשׂוּ אֲפִלּוּ בְּחִנָּם:

7

When is it considered that those who guide the flight of doves have repented? When they break the tools they use to snare them and manifest complete regret over their actions to the extent that they do not do this even in the desert.

ז

מֵאֵימָתַי חֲזָרַת מַפְרִיחֵי יוֹנִים מִשֶּׁיִּשְׁבְּרוּ אֶת הַכֵּלִים שֶׁצָּדִין בָּהֶן. וְיַחְזְרוּ בָּהֶן חֲזָרָה גְּמוּרָה שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר לֹא יַעֲשׂוּ:

8

When is it considered that merchants of produce in the Sabbatical year have repented? When the Sabbatical year arrives, they are investigated and it is discovered that they did not sell such produce.

Expressing regret verbally is not sufficient. Instead, they must compose a document, stating: "I, so-and-so, the son of so-and-so, earned 200 zuz from the sale of the produce of the Sabbatical year and this sum is given as a present to the poor."

ח

מֵאֵימָתַי חֲזָרַת סוֹחֲרֵי שְׁבִיעִית מִשֶּׁתַּגִּיעַ שְׁבִיעִית וְיִבָּדְקוּ. וְלֹא חֲזָרַת דְּבָרִים בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא כּוֹתֵב אֲנִי פְּלוֹנִי בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי כָּנַסְתִּי מָאתַיִם זוּז מִפֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית וַהֲרֵי הֵם נְתוּנִים בְּמַתָּנָה לָעֲנִיִּים:

9

When is it considered that a person suspected of benefiting from taking a false oath has repented? When he goes to a court which does not recognize him and tells them: "I am suspect to take a false oath." Alternatively, when he is obligated to take an oath in a court which does not recognize him with regard to a significant amount of money and he chooses to make financial restitution rather than take the oath.

Similarly, a butcher would check the animals he slaughtered by himself and market the meat who sold meat that was trefe is considered like those who partake of such meat and who are unacceptable as witnesses. Such a butcher is unacceptable as a witness until it is evident from his deeds that he regrets the evil he performed. He must wear black clothes, robe himself in black, and go to a place where his identity is not known and return a lost object that is significantly valuable or acknowledge that an animal that is significantly valuable which he owned and slaughtered is trefe.

ט

מֵאֵימָתַי חֲזָרַת הַמּוֹעֵל בִּשְׁבוּעָה מִשֶּׁיָּבוֹא לְבֵית דִּין שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ וְיֹאמַר לָהֶם חָשׁוּד אֲנִי אוֹ יִתְחַיֵּב שְׁבוּעָה בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ בְּמָמוֹן חָשׁוּב יְשַׁלֵּם וְלֹא יִרְצֶה לְהִשָּׁבַע. וְכֵן טַבָּח שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹדֵק לְעַצְמוֹ וּמוֹכֵר וְיָצָאת טְרֵפָה מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא בִּכְלַל אוֹכְלֵי טְרֵפָה שֶׁהֵן פְּסוּלִין לְעֵדוּת. הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת עַד שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה מִמַּעֲשָׂיו שֶׁנִּחָם עַל רָעָתוֹ. וְיִלְבַּשׁ שְׁחוֹרִים וִיכַסֶּה שְׁחוֹרִים וְיֵלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ וְיַחְזִיר אֲבֵדָה בְּמָמוֹן חָשׁוּב. אוֹ יוֹצִיא טְרֵפָה מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ בְּדָבָר חָשׁוּב:

10

Similarly, a witnesses who was discovered to have lied who went to a place where he was not recognized and was offered a significant amount of money to deliver false testimony, but refused is considered to have repented and is reinstated as a witness. Similar principles apply in all analogous situations.

י

וְכֵן עֵד זוֹמֵם שֶׁהָלַךְ לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ וְנָתְנוּ לוֹ מָמוֹן חָשׁוּב לְהָעִיד בְּשֶׁקֶר וְלֹא רָצָה הֲרֵי זֶה עָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְחָזַר לְכַשְׁרוּתוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה: