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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Edut - Chapter 2, Edut - Chapter 3, Edut - Chapter 4

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Edut - Chapter 2

1

What is the difference between the chakirot and the derishot and the bedikot? With regard to the chakirot and the derishot, if one witness gave specific testimony and the second said: "I do not know," their testimony is of no consequence. With regard to the bedikot, by contrast, even if both of them say: "I don't know," their testimony is allowed to stand. If, however, they contradict each other, even with regard to the bedikot, their testimony is nullified.

What is implied? The witnesses testified that one person killed another. One of the witnesses specified the year of the seven year cycle, the year, the month, the date, the day of the week, Wednesday, the time, 12 noon, and the place of the murder. Similarly, they asked him: "With what did he kill him?", and he answered: "With a sword." If the second witnesses outlined his testimony in the same manner except for the time, i.e., he said: "I do not know the time of day at which the murder took place," or he was able to specify the time, but said: "I don't know what he used to kill him. I did not take notice of the murder weapon," their testimony is nullified. If, however, they outlined all the above factors identically, but were asked: "Was he dressed in black or white?" their testimony is allowed to stand if they replied: "We don't know. We did not pay attention to factors like these which are of no consequence."

א

מַה בֵּין חֲקִירוֹת וּדְרִישׁוֹת לִבְדִיקוֹת. בַּחֲקִירוֹת וּדְרִישׁוֹת אִם כִּוֵּן הָאֶחָד אֶת עֵדוּתוֹ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. אֲבָל בִּבְדִיקוֹת אֲפִלּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן אוֹמְרִין אֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁהֵן מַכְחִישִׁין זֶה אֶת זֶה אֲפִלּוּ בִּבְדִיקוֹת עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. כֵּיצַד. הֵעִידוּ שֶׁהָרַג זֶה אֶת זֶה וְאָמַר הָאֶחָד כְּשֶׁנֶּחְקַר בְּשָׁבוּעַ פְּלוֹנִי. בְּשָׁנָה פְּלוֹנִית. בְּחֹדֶשׁ פְּלוֹנִי. בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ בְּחֹדֶשׁ. בִּרְבִיעִי בְּשַׁבָּת. בְּשֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת בַּיּוֹם. בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי הֲרָגוֹ. וְכֵן כְּשֶׁדָּרְשׁוּ בַּמֶּה הֲרָגוֹ אָמַר הֲרָגוֹ בְּסַיִף. וְכֵן הָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי כִּוֵּן עֵדוּתוֹ בַּכּל חוּץ מִן הַשָּׁעוֹת שֶׁאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ בְּכַמָּה שָׁעוֹת הָיָה בַּיּוֹם. אוֹ שֶׁכִּוֵּן אֶת הַשָּׁעוֹת וְאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ בַּמֶּה הֲרָגוֹ וְלֹא הֵבַנְתִּי בַּכְּלִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּיָדוֹ. הֲרֵי עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. אֲבָל אִם כִּוְּנוּ הַכּל וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶן הַדַּיָּנִים כֵּלָיו הָיוּ שְׁחוֹרִים אוֹ לְבָנִים וְאָמְרוּ אֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים וְלֹא שַׂמְנוּ לִבֵּנוּ לִדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן מַמָּשׁ הֲרֵי עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת:

2

If one of the witnesses said: "He was wearing black clothes," and the second one said: "That is not so," he was wearing white clothes, their testimony is nullified. It is as one said: "It took place on Wednesday," and the other said: "It took place on Thursday," in which instance, the testimony is of no consequence. Or it can be compared to a situation where one said: ""He killed him with a sword," and the other says: "He killed him with a lance." The need for corroboration of the witnesses' testimony is derived from Deuteronomy 13:15 which states: "And the matter is precise." If they contradicted each other in any matter, their testimony is not precise.

ב

אָמַר אֶחָד כֵּלִים שְׁחוֹרִים הָיָה לָבוּשׁ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אָמַר לֹא כֵן אֶלָּא לְבָנִים הָיָה לָבוּשׁ הֲרֵי עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. וּכְאִלּוּ אָמַר אֶחָד בִּרְבִיעִי בְּשַׁבָּת וְהַשֵּׁנִי בַּחֲמִישִׁי שֶׁאֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֶחָד בְּסַיִף הֲרָגוֹ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אָמַר בְּרֹמַח שֶׁאֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יג טו) "נָכוֹן הַדָּבָר" וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהִכְחִישׁוּ זֶה אֶת זֶה בְּאֵי זֶה מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים אֵין זֶה נָכוֹן:

3

The following rules apply if there were many witnesses. If two of them testified in a like manner with regard to the chakirot and the derishot, their testimony is allowed to stand and the defendant is executed, even though the third witness says: "I don't know." If, however, that witness contradicts the other two, even with regard to the bedikot, their testimony is nullified.

ג

הָיוּ הָעֵדִים מְרֻבִּים שְׁנַיִם מֵהֶן כִּוְּנוּ עֵדוּתָן בַּחֲקִירוֹת וּבִדְרִישׁוֹת וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ תִּתְקַיֵּם הָעֵדוּת בִּשְׁנַיִם וְיֵהָרֵג. אֲבָל אִם הִכְחִישׁ אֶת שְׁנֵיהֶן אֲפִלּוּ בִּבְדִיקוֹת עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה:

4

If one witness says: "The murder took place on Wednesday, the second of the month," and another says: "It took place on Wednesday, the third of the month," their testimony is allowed to stand. Although there is a contradiction between them, we assume that one knew that an extra day was added to the month, and one did not know.

Until when does the above apply? Until the middle of the month. After the middle of the month, by contrast, e.g., one said: "It took place on the sixteenth of the month," and the second said: "It took place on the seventeenth of the month," their testimony is nullified even though both of them spoke about the same day of the week. The rationale is that by the middle of the month, every one knows when Rosh Chodesh was commemorated.

ד

עֵד אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בִּרְבִיעִי בְּשַׁבָּת בִּשְׁנַיִם לַחֹדֶשׁ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בִּרְבִיעִי בְּשַׁבָּת בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה לַחֹדֶשׁ עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת. שֶׁזֶּה יוֹדֵעַ בְּעִבּוּרוֹ שֶׁל חֹדֶשׁ וְזֶה אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים עַד חֲצוֹת הַחֹדֶשׁ. אֲבָל אַחַר חֲצוֹת הַחֹדֶשׁ כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר הָאֶחָד בְּשִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר בַּחֹדֶשׁ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בְּשִׁבְעָה עָשָׂר בַּחֹדֶשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכִּוְּנוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יוֹם אֶחָד מִימֵי הַשַּׁבָּת עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. שֶׁאֵין חֲצִי הַחֹדֶשׁ בָּא וּכְבָר יָדְעוּ הַכּל אֵימָתַי הָיָה רֹאשׁ הַחֹדֶשׁ:

5

If, however, one witness says: "It took place on the third of the month," and the other says: "It took place on the fifth of the month," their testimony is nullified.

If one witness says: "It took place during the second hour of the day," and the other says: "It took place during the third hour," their testimony is allowed to stand. The rationale is that it is common for people to err with regard to one hour. If, however, one says: "It took place during the third hour," and the other says: "It took place during the fifth hour," their testimony is nullified.

If one witness says: "It took place before sunrise," and the other says: "It took place at sunrise," their testimony is nullified. Even though the discrepancy between them is less than one hour, the matter is evident to all. Similar concepts apply with regard to sunset.

ה

אָמַר הָאֶחָד בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. אָמַר עֵד אֶחָד בִּשְׁתֵּי שָׁעוֹת בַּיּוֹם וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בְּשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת הֲרֵי עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ הָעָם לִטְעוֹת בְּשָׁעָה אַחַת. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד בְּשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בְּחָמֵשׁ עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. אָמַר עֵד אֶחָד קֹדֶם הָנֵץ הַחַמָּה וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּהָנֵץ הַחַמָּה עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא שָׁעָה אַחַת שֶׁהַדָּבָר נִכָּר לַכּל. וְכֵן אִם נֶחְלְקוּ בִּשְׁקִיעָתָהּ:

Edut - Chapter 3

1

The questioning and interrogation of witnesses is required with regard to cases involving both monetary law and capital punishment, as Leviticus 24:22 states: "You shall have one judgment." Nevertheless, our Sages ordained that witnesses in cases involving financial law not be questioned or interrogated, lest this prevent loans from being given.

What is implied? If witnesses say: "So-and-so lent so-and-so a maneh in this year," their testimony is allowed to stand even though they did not specify the month or the place in which the maneh was given, nor did they say of which coinage the maneh was.

א

אֶחָד דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְאֶחָד דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת בִּדְרִישָׁה וַחֲקִירָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כד כב) "מִשְׁפַּט אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לָכֶם". אֲבָל אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּנְעל דֶּלֶת בִּפְנֵי לוִֹין אֵין עֵדֵי מָמוֹן צְרִיכִין דְּרִישָׁה וַחֲקִירָה. כֵּיצַד. אָמְרוּ הָעֵדִים בְּפָנֵינוּ הִלְוָה זֶה אֶת זֶה מָנֶה בְּשָׁנָה פְּלוֹנִית. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא כִּוְּנוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ וְלֹא אֶת הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁהִלְוָה בּוֹ וְלֹא אֶת הַמָּנֶה אִם הָיָה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ פְּלוֹנִי אוֹ מִמַּטְבֵּעַ פְּלוֹנִי עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת:

2

When does the above apply? With regard to admissions of liability, loans, presents, sales, and the like. Cases involving fines, by contrast, require the full process of questioning and interrogation. Needless to say, this applies with regard to cases involving the penalties of lashes and exile. Similarly, if a judge perceives that a claim may be contrived and his suspicions are aroused, questioning and interrogation is necessary even with regard to cases involving financial matters.

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּהוֹדָאוֹת וְהַלְוָאוֹת מַתָּנוֹת וּמְכִירוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. אֲבָל בְּדִינֵי קְנָסוֹת צְרִיכִין דְּרִישָׁה וַחֲקִירָה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּמַלְקוֹת וּבְגָלוּת. וְכֵן אִם רָאָה הַדַּיָּן שֶׁהַדִּין מְרֻמֶּה וְחָשַׁשׁ לוֹ צָרִיךְ דְּרִישָׁה וַחֲקִירָה:

3

Although there is no requirement to subject witnesses in cases involving monetary law to the full process of questioning and interrogation, if the witnesses contradict each other with regard to the derishot or the chakirot, their testimony is nullified. If the witnesses contradict each other with regard to the bedikot, their testimony is allowed to stand.

What is implied? One witness says: "He borrowed from him in Nissan," and the other witness says: "No, he borrowed in Iyar," their testimony is nullified. Or one says: "The loan was given in Jerusalem," and the second says: "No; we were in Lod," their testimony is nullified. Similarly, if one says: "He lent him a barrel of wine," and the other says: "It contained oil," their testimony is nullified, for they contradicted themselves with regard to the fundamental questions.

If, by contrast, one said: "He lent him a black maneh," while the other said: "It was a white maneh. One said: "They were in the upper storey when he made the loan," and the other said: "They were in the lower storey," their testimony is allowed to stand. Moreover, even if one said: "He lent him a maneh and the other, "He lent him two hundred," the defendant is obligated to pay him at least a maneh, because 200 contains 100. Similarly, if one said: "He owes him the cost of a barrel of wine," and the other says: "...a barrel of oil," the defendant is required to pay the lesser amount of the two. Similar concepts apply in all analogous situations.

ג

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עֵדֵי מָמוֹנוֹת צְרִיכִין דְּרִישָׁה וַחֲקִירָה אִם הִכְחִישׁוּ הָעֵדִים זֶה אֶת זֶה בִּדְרִישׁוֹת אוֹ בַּחֲקִירוֹת עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. וְאִם הִכְחִישׁוּ הָעֵדִים זֶה אֶת זֶה בִּבְדִיקוֹת עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת. כֵּיצַד. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּנִיסָן לָוָה מִמֶּנּוּ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר לֹא כִּי אֶלָּא בְּאִיָּר אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֶחָד בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר לֹא כִּי אֶלָּא בְּלוֹד הָיִינוּ עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד חָבִית שֶׁל יַיִן הִלְוָהוּ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁל שֶׁמֶן הָיְתָה עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הִכְחִישׁוֹ בִּדְרִישָׁה. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד מָנֶה שָׁחוֹר וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר מָנֶה לָבָן הָיָה. זֶה אוֹמֵר בַּדְּיוֹטָא הָעֶלְיוֹנָה הָיוּ כְּשֶׁהִלְוָהוּ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בַּדְּיוֹטָא הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה הָיוּ. עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת. אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר הָאֶחָד מָנֶה הִלְוָהוּ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר מָאתַיִם חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם מָנֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בִּכְלַל מָאתַיִם מָנֶה. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד דְּמֵי חָבִית שֶׁל יַיִן יֵשׁ לוֹ בְּיָדוֹ וְזֶה אוֹמֵר דְּמֵי חָבִית שֶׁל שֶׁמֶן מְשַׁלֵּם בַּפָּחוּת שֶׁבְּדָמִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

4

According to Scriptural Law, we do not accept testimony - neither in cases involving financial matter, nor in cases involving capital punishment - except orally from the witnesses, as implied by Deuteronomy 17:6: "On the basis of two witnesses...." Implied is that testimony is accepted only orally, and not on the basis of their written statements.

According to Rabbinic Law, however, we decide cases involving financial matters on the basis of testimony recorded in a legal document even if the witnesses are no longer alive. This measure was enacted lest the alternative prevent loans from being given. We do not adjudicate cases involving fines on the basis of testimony recorded in a legal document. Needless to say, cases involving lashes or exile are decided only on the basis of verbal testimony, not on the basis of a written document.

ד

דִּין תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּת לֹא בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְלֹא בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אֶלָּא מִפִּי הָעֵדִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז ו) "עַל פִּי שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים" מִפִּיהֶם וְלֹא מִכְּתַב יָדָן. אֲבָל מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁחוֹתְכִין דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת בְּעֵדוּת שֶּׁבַּשְּׁטָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הָעֵדִים קַיָּמִים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּנְעל דֶּלֶת בִּפְנֵי לוִֹין. וְאֵין דָּנִין בְּעֵדוּת שֶׁבַּשְּׁטָר בְּדִינֵי קְנָסוֹת וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּמַכּוֹת וּבְגָלוּת אֶלָּא מִפִּיהֶן וְלֹא מִכְּתַב יָדָן:

5

In both cases involving financial matters and cases involving capital punishment, once a witness has testified and has been questioned in court, he cannot retract.

What is implied? If the witness state: "I testified in error," "I inadvertently forgot the details and now remembered that it was not so," or "I testified only out of fear of him" we do not heed him, even if he provides an explanation for his statements. Similarly, he cannot add that any of the matters he mentioned in his testimony were conditional.

The general principle is: Any statement made by a witness after his testimony was delivered and questioned that will lead to the nullification of that testimony or that adds a condition to the points stated is not heeded.

ה

כָּל עֵד שֶׁנֶּחְקְרָה עֵדוּתוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין בֵּין בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת בֵּין בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אֵין יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ. כֵּיצַד. אָמַר מֻטְעֶה הָיִיתִי שׁוֹגֵג הָיִיתִי וְנִזְכַּרְתִּי שֶׁאֵין הַדָּבָר כֵּן. לְפַחְדוֹ עָשִׂיתִי. אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ נָתַן טַעַם לִדְבָרָיו. וְכֵן אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹסִיף בְּעֵדוּתוֹ תְּנַאי. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל דְּבָרִים שֶׁיֹּאמַר הָעֵד אַחַר שֶׁנֶּחְקְרָה עֵדוּתוֹ שֶׁיָּבוֹא מִכְּלָלָן בִּטּוּל הָעֵדוּת אוֹ הוֹסָפַת תְּנַאי בָּהּ אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ:

6

Witnesses who sign a legal document are considered as if their testimony was delivered and questioned by a court of law. They cannot retract it.

When does the above apply? When the authenticity of the document can be verified without their testimony, e.g., other witness who could testify that it was their signatures were present or their signatures were found on other legal documents. If, however, the authenticity of the document could not be verified without their testimony and they said: "This is our handwriting, but we were compelled to do it," "...We were below majority at the time," "...We were related to the litigants," "...We were deceived," their statements are accepted and the legal document is nullified.

ו

עֵדִים הַחֲתוּמִים עַל הַשְּׁטָר הֲרֵי הֵן כְּמִי שֶׁנֶּחְקְרָה עֵדוּתָן בְּבֵית דִּין וְאֵין יְכוֹלִין לַחְזֹר בָּהֶן. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לְקַיֵּם הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁלֹּא מִפִּיהֶן כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁזֶּה כְּתַב יָדָן אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה כְּתַב יָדָן יוֹצֵא מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר. אֲבָל אִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְקַיֵּם אֶת הַשְּׁטָר אֶלָּא מִפִּיהֶן וְאָמְרוּ כְּתַב יָדֵינוּ הוּא זֶה אֲבָל אֲנוּסִים הָיִינוּ קְטַנִּים הָיִינוּ קְרוֹבִים הָיִינוּ מֻטְעִים הָיִינוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִים וִיבַטֵּל הַשְּׁטָר:

7

If the witnesses say: "We were not acceptable as witnesses because of a transgression we violated," or "We took a bribe to testify on this document," their word is not accepted. The rationale is that a person's own testimony can never be used to have him considered as wicked. Instead, two witnesses must testify that he is wicked.

Similarly, if the witnesses say: "Our words were given on faith, their words are not accepted. For a person who signs as a witness on a promissory note given on faith is considered as if he gave false testimony.

ז

אָמְרוּ פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת הָיִינוּ בַּעֲבֵרָה אוֹ שֹׁחַד לָקַחְנוּ עַל עֵדוּת זוֹ אֵין נֶאֱמָנִים שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מֵשִׂים עַצְמוֹ רָשָׁע עַד שֶׁיָּעִידוּ עָלָיו עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא רָשָׁע. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרוּ אֲמָנָה הָיוּ דְּבָרֵינוּ אֵין נֶאֱמָנִים שֶׁהַמֵּעִיד עַל שְׁטַר אֲמָנָה כְּמֵעִיד בְּשֶׁקֶר:

8

If witnesses say: "A protest was made by the seller to us with regard to this deed of sale," their words are accepted even though their signatures were found on other legal documents.

ח

אָמְרוּ הָעֵדִים שְׁטַר מֶכֶר זֶה מוֹדָעָה נִמְסְרָה לָנוּ עָלָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכְּתַב יָדָן יוֹצֵא מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִין:

9

When the witnesses signed on the document say: "The legal document was composed conditionally," their word is not accepted if their signatures were found on other legal documents. If, however, the authenticity of the document could not be verified without their testimony, their statements are accepted and we tell the litigants: "Fulfill the condition and then bring the matter to judgment."

ט

אָמְרוּ עַל תְּנַאי הָיָה שְׁטָר זֶה. אִם הָיָה כְּתַב יָדָן יוֹצֵא מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר אֵין נֶאֱמָנִין וְאִם אֵין הַשְּׁטָר מִתְקַיֵּם אֶלָּא מִפִּיהֶם נֶאֱמָנִים. וְאוֹמֵר לְבַעֲלֵי הַדִּין קַיְּמוּ הַתְּנַאי וּבוֹאוּ לָדוּן:

10

If one of the witnesses says: "The transaction was made conditionally," and the other says, "There was no condition involved," the testimony of the one witness is of consequence.

י

אָמַר אֶחָד מִן הָעֵדִים עַל תְּנַאי הָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר לֹא הָיָה שָׁם תְּנַאי הֲרֵי כָּאן עֵד אֶחָד:

11

Also in laws involving financial matters, we receive testimony only in the presence of the litigants. If, however, the plaintiff was deathly ill or the witnesses desired to travel overseas and the defendant was summoned and yet did not come, we receive the testimony outside his presence.

When does the above apply? To testimony given orally. The authenticity of the signatures of a legal document, by contrast, may be verified outside the defendant's presence. Moreover, even if the defendant is present and protests vociferously: "This document is a forgery," "They are false witnesses," or "They are unacceptable witnesses," we pay no heed to him. Instead, we verify the authenticity of the document. If the defendant brings proof which disqualifies the document, it is disqualified.

יא

גַּם בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת אֵין מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּת אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי בַּעַל דִּין. אִם הָיָה בַּעַל דִּין חוֹלֶה אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ הָעֵדִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵילֵךְ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וְשָׁלְחוּ לְבַעַל דִּין וְלֹא בָּא הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְקַבְּלִים עֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּעֵדוּת עַל פֶּה. אֲבָל בִּשְׁטָר מְקַיְּמִין בֵּית דִּין אֶת עֵדָיו שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי בַּעַל דִּין. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עוֹמֵד וְצוֹוֵחַ וְאוֹמֵר שְׁטָר מְזֻיָּף הוּא עֵדֵי שֶׁקֶר הֵן פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת הֵן אֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין בּוֹ אֶלָּא מְקַיְּמִין אֶת הַשְּׁטָר וְאִם יֵשׁ לוֹ רְאָיָה לִפְסל יִפְסל:

12

Whenever a plaintiff has witnesses who will testify to prove his claim, he must tend to the witnesses until he brings them to court. If the court knows that the defendant is a strong and stubborn person and the plaintiff claims that the witnesses are afraid to come and testify on behalf of the plaintiff, the court compels the defendant to bring the witnesses. We adjudicate cases involving strong and stubborn people according to these and other analogous principles.

יב

כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ רְאָיָה בְּעֵדִים מְטַפֵּל בָּעֵדִים עַד שֶׁיְּבִיאֵם לְבֵית דִּין. וְאִם יָדְעוּ בֵּית דִּין שֶׁבַּעַל דִּינוֹ אַלָּם וְטָעַן הַתּוֹבֵעַ שֶׁהָעֵדִים מִתְפַּחֲדִים מִבַּעַל דִּינוֹ שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ וְיָעִידוּ לוֹ הֲרֵי בֵּית דִּין כּוֹפִין אֶת בַּעַל דִּינוֹ שֶׁיָּבִיא הוּא הָעֵדִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ דָּנִין בָּהֶן לְאַלָּם:

Edut - Chapter 4

1

Both witnesses in cases involving capital punishment must see the person committing the transgression at the same time. They must deliver their testimony together, in the same court. These requirements do not apply with regard to cases involving financial matters.

What is implied? If while looking from one window, a witness saw the person commit the transgression and the other witness saw him from the other window, their testimonies can be combined if they see each other. If they cannot see each other, their testimonies cannot be combined. If a person who administered the warning sees the witnesses and the witnesses see him, because of the person administering the warning, their testimony is combined even though they do not see each other.

If they do not see the transgression at the same time, their testimony is not combined. For example, the two witnesses were in one house and one stuck his head out of the window and saw a person perform a forbidden labor on the Sabbath and another person issue a warning. He then thrust in his head and the other witness stuck his head out of the same window and saw the person commit the transgression. Their testimonies cannot be combined unless they both see the transgression at the same time.

The following laws apply when two witnesses see the transgressor from one window, two other witnesses see him from another window, and there is a person who gives a warning in between. If some of them see each other, they are considered as one group of witnesses. If they do not see each other and the person giving the warning does not include them together, they are considered as two groups of witnesses. Therefore if one group are discovered to be zomamim, the transgressor and the witnesses are executed. For the transgressor is executed on the basis of the testimony of the second group of witnesses.

א

עֵדֵי נְפָשׁוֹת צְרִיכִין שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם רוֹאִים אֶת הָעוֹשֶׂה עֲבֵרָה כְּאֶחָד. וּצְרִיכִין לְהָעִיד כְּאֶחָד וּבְבֵית דִּין אֶחָד. אֲבָל דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת אֵין צְרִיכִין לְכָךְ. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה אֶחָד רוֹאֵהוּ מֵחַלּוֹן זֶה כְּשֶׁעָבַר הָעֲבֵרָה וְהָעֵד הָאַחֵר רוֹאֵהוּ מֵחַלּוֹן אַחֵר. אִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵי הָעֵדִים רוֹאִין זֶה אֶת זֶה מִצְטָרְפִין וְאִם לָאו אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין. הָיָה זֶה הַמַּתְרֶה בּוֹ רוֹאֶה הָעֵדִים וְהָעֵדִים רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין רוֹאִין זֶה אֶת זֶה הַמַּתְרֶה מְצָרְפָן. הָיוּ שְׁנֵי הָעֵדִים בְּבַיִת אֶחָד וְהוֹצִיא אֶחָד מֵהֶן רֹאשׁוֹ מִן הַחַלּוֹן. וְרָאָהוּ זֶה שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בְּשַׁבָּת וְאֶחָד מַתְרֶה בּוֹ. וְהִכְנִיס רֹאשׁוֹ וְחָזַר הָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי וְהוֹצִיא רֹאשׁוֹ מֵאוֹתוֹ הַחַלּוֹן וְרָאָהוּ. אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין עַד שֶׁיִּרְאוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד. הָיוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ מֵחַלּוֹן זֶה וּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ מֵחַלּוֹן אַחֵר וְאֶחָד מַתְרֶה בּוֹ בָּאֶמְצַע. בִּזְמַן שֶׁמִּקְצָתָן רוֹאִין אֵלּוּ אֶת אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי זוֹ עֵדוּת אַחַת וְאִם לֹא הָיוּ רוֹאִין אֵלּוּ אֶת אֵלּוּ וְלֹא צֵרֵף אוֹתָן הַמַּתְרֶה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שְׁתֵּי עֵדוּיוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִמְצֵאת כַּת אַחַת מֵהֶן זוֹמְמִין הוּא וְהֵן נֶהֱרָגִין שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא נֶהֱרָג בְּעֵדוּת הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה:

2

With regard to cases involving financial matters, by contrast, even though they did not see each other, their testimony can be combined.

What is implied? One witness said: "In my presence, he lent money him on this-and-this day" or "In my presence, he acknowledged a debt," and the second witness says: "I also testify that he lent him money" or "...acknowledged a debt" on a different day, their testimony can be combined.

ב

אֲבָל בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא רָאוּ אֵלּוּ אֶת אֵלּוּ עֵדוּתָן מִצְטָרֶפֶת. כֵּיצַד. אָמַר הָאֶחָד בְּפָנַי הִלְוָהוּ בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי אוֹ בְּפָנַי הוֹדָה לוֹ. וְאָמַר הָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי וְכֵן אֲנִי מֵעִיד שֶׁהִלְוָהוּ בְּפָנַי אוֹ הוֹדָה בְּיוֹם אַחֵר. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפִין:

3

Similarly, if one witness states: "He gave a loan in my presence," and the other said: "He acknowledged a debt in my presence," or the first said: "He acknowledged a debt in my presence," and the other testified afterwards, saying: "He gave a loan in my presence," their testimony can be combined.

ג

וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד בְּפָנַי הִלְוָהוּ וְהַשֵּׁנִי אוֹמֵר בְּפָנַי הוֹדָה לוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּפָנַי הוֹדָה וְהַשֵּׁנִי שֶׁהֵעִיד אַחַר זְמַן אָמַר בְּפָנַי הִלְוָהוּ. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפִין:

4

Similar concepts apply with regard to the time of their testimony in court. One may come on one day and the court will hear his testimony and the other may come on a later date and have his testimony heard. The testimonies may be combined and money expropriated on this basis.

ד

וְכֵן בְּעֵת שֶׁמְּעִידִין בְּבֵית דִּין יָבוֹא אֶחָד וְשׁוֹמְעִין דְּבָרָיו הַיּוֹם וּכְשֶׁיָּבוֹא הָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי לְאַחַר זְמַן שׁוֹמְעִין דְּבָרָיו וּמִצְטָרְפִין זֶה לָזֶה וּמוֹצִיאִין בָּהֶן הַמָּמוֹן:

5

Similarly, if the testimony of one witness was recorded in a legal document and the other testified orally, their testimony may be combined. If the witness who did not record his testimony states: "I entered into an act of contract with him concerning this manner, but the lender did not come and ask me to record my testimony in a legal document," the two can join together to give the claim the status of a loan backed by a promissory note. The borrower may not claim: "I repaid the debt."

ה

וְכֵן אִם הָיָה עֵד אֶחָד בִּכְתָב וְאֶחָד עַל פֶּה מִצְטָרְפִין. וְאִם אָמַר זֶה שֶׁלֹּא כָּתַב עֵדוּתוֹ אֲנִי קָנִיתִי מִיָּדוֹ עַל דָּבָר זֶה וְלֹא בָּא הַמַּלְוֶה הַזֶּה וְלֹא שָׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי לִכְתֹּב שְׁנֵיהֶם מִצְטָרְפִין לַעֲשׂוֹת הַמִּלְוֶה בַּשְּׁטָר וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לוֹמַר פָּרַעְתִּי:

6

The following laws apply in cases involving financial matters. If one witness delivered testimony in one court and the other witness delivered testimony in a second court, the two courts should come together and combine the testimonies. Similarly, if two witnesses delivered testimony in one court and then delivered testimony in another court, a member of either court can join together with a member of the other court. The statements of a witness and a judge before whom two witnesses testified may not be combined.

ו

הֵעִיד הָאֶחָד בְּבֵית דִּין זֶה וְהָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי בְּבֵית דִּין אַחֵר יָבוֹא בֵּית דִּין אֵצֶל בֵּית דִּין וְיִצְטָרְפוּ עֵדוּתָן. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִידוּ שְׁנֵי הָעֵדִים בְּבֵית דִּין זֶה וְחָזְרוּ וְהֵעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין אַחֵר יָבוֹא אֶחָד מִכָּל בֵּית דִּין וְיִצְטָרְפוּ. אֲבָל הָעֵד עִם הַדַּיָּן שֶׁהֵעִידוּ שְׁנֵי הָעֵדִים בְּפָנָיו אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין:

7

Although testimony of two witnesses may be combined in matters of financial law, each of the witnesses must deliver testimony concerning an entire matter, as we explained. If, by contrast, one witness testifies concerning a portion of a matter and the other witness testifies concerning another portion of the matter, we do not establish the matter on the basis of their testimony, as indicated by Deuteronomy 19:15: "According to the testimony of two witnesses shall the matter be established."

What is implied? One witness testifies that a person benefited from a field one year, another testifies that he benefited in the following year, and a third testifies that he benefited in the third year, the testimonies of the three cannot be linked together to say that he benefited for three years. For each of them testified only about a portion of the matter.

Similarly, if one witness testifies: "I saw one hair on the person's right side," and another witness testifies: "I saw one hair on the person's left side," their testimonies are not linked together so that we can say that two people testified that the person concerned manifested signs of physical maturity on that particular day. For each of them testified only about a portion of the physical signs required. Even if two witnesses testified that they saw one hair and two other witnesses testified that they saw another hair, their testimony is of no consequence. Since they both testified about only half the matter, this is not acceptable testimony.

If, however, one witness testified that he saw two hairs on the person's right side and another witness testified that he saw two hairs on the person's left side, their testimony can be linked together. Similar concepts apply in all analogous situations.

ז

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּצְטָרְפִין הָעֵדוּת בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת צָרִיךְ שֶׁיָּעִיד כָּל אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם בְּכָל דָּבָר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אֲבָל אִם הֵעִיד עֵד אֶחָד בְּמִקְצָת דָּבָר וְהֵעִיד הַשֵּׁנִי בְּמִקְצָתוֹ אֵין מְקַיְּמִין הַדָּבָר מֵעֵדוּת שְׁנֵיהֶם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משנה סוטה ו ג) "עַל פִּי שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים יָקוּם דָּבָר". כֵּיצַד. זֶה אוֹמֵר פְּלוֹנִי אָכַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ שָׁנָה פְּלוֹנִית וְזֶה הֵעִיד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁנָה שְׁנִיָּה וְזֶה הֵעִיד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁנָה שְׁלִישִׁית. אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין עֵדוּת שְׁלָשְׁתָּן וְאוֹמְרִים הֲרֵי אֲכָלָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד הֵעִיד בְּמִקְצָת הַדָּבָר. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִיד זֶה אֲנִי רָאִיתִי שַׂעֲרָה אַחַת בְּצַד יְמִינוֹ שֶׁל זֶה וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי רָאִיתִי שַׂעֲרָה אַחַת בְּצַד שְׂמֹאלוֹ שֶׁל זֶה בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם. אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין דִּבְרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּדֵי שֶׁנֹּאמַר הֲרֵי הֵעִידוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁהָיָה זֶה גָּדוֹל בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי לְפִי שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶם לֹא הֵעִיד אֶלָּא בְּמִקְצָת הַסִּימָנִין. אֲפִלּוּ הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם בְּשַׂעֲרָה אַחַת וְהָעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם בְּשַׂעֲרָה אַחֶרֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל כַּת מֵהֶם הֵעִידָה עַל חֲצִי דָּבָר וְאֵין זוֹ עֵדוּת. אֲבָל אִם הֵעִידָה הָאַחַת שֶׁרָאֲתָה שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת בְּצַד יָמִין וְהֵעִידָה הַשְּׁנִיָּה שֶׁרָאֲתָה שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת בְּצַד שְׂמֹאל מִצְטָרְפִין. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ:

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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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