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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Edut - Chapter 11, Edut - Chapter 12, Edut - Chapter 13

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Edut - Chapter 11

1

When one does not read the Written Law, nor study the Oral Law, nor carry on ordinary social relationships, he can be assumed to be wicked and is disqualified as a witness according to Rabbinic decree. The rationale is that whenever a person has descended to such a degree, it can be assumed that he will transgress most transgressions that will present themselves to him.

א

מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא בְּמִקְרָא וְלֹא בְּמִשְׁנָה וְלֹא בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקַת רָשָׁע וּפָסוּל לְעֵדוּת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁיָּרַד עַד כָּךְ חֲזָקָה שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵר עַל רֹב הָעֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ לְיָדוֹ:

2

For this reason, unlearned people should not be designated as witnesses, nor do we accept such a person's testimony unless it has been established that he observes the mitzvot, performs acts of kindness, conducts himself in an upright manner, and carries on normal social relationships. The testimony of such a person may be accepted even though he is unlearned and is unfamiliar with both the Written and Oral Law.

ב

לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מוֹסְרִין עֵדוּת לְעַם הָאָרֶץ וְאֵין מְקַבְּלִין מִמֶּנּוּ עֵדוּת אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֻחְזַק שֶׁהוּא עוֹסֵק בְּמִצְוֹת וּבִגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים וְנוֹהֵג בְּדַרְכֵי הַיְשָׁרִים וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עַם הָאָרֶץ וְאֵינוֹ לֹא בְּמִקְרָא וְלֹא בְּמִשְׁנָה:

3

Thus one may conclude any Torah scholar may be assumed to be acceptable as a witness unless he is disqualified, and any unlearned person may be assumed to be unacceptable unless it is established that he follows just paths.

ג

נִמְצֵאתָ אוֹמֵר כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם בְּחֶזְקַת כָּשֵׁר עַד שֶׁיִּפָּסֵל. כָּל עַם הָאָרֶץ בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל עַד שֶׁיֻּחְזַק שֶׁהוּא הוֹלֵךְ בְּדַרְכֵי הַיְשָׁרִים:

4

Whoever accepts the testimony of an unlearned person before it is established that he possesses the above positive qualities or before witnesses come and testify that he observes the mitzvot and carries on ordinary social relations is a commoner and will be required to face judgment, for he has forfeited the financial resources of Jews on the basis of the testimony of the wicked.

ד

וְכָל מִי שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל עֵדוּת עַם הָאָרֶץ טֶרֶם שֶׁתִּהְיֶה לוֹ חֲזָקָה זוֹ אוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ עֵדִים וְיָעִידוּ שֶׁהוּא נוֹהֵג בְּמִצְוֹת וּבְדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ הֲרֵי זֶה הֶדְיוֹט וְעָתִיד לִתֵּן אֶת הַדִּין שֶׁהֲרֵי מְאַבֵּד מָמוֹנָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל פִּי רְשָׁעִים:

5

Similarly, base people are disqualified as witnesses by Rabbinic decree. This refers to people who walk through the marketplace eating in the presence of everyone, those who go unclothed in the marketplace when they are involved in ignoble tasks, and the like. The rationale is that they are not concerned with their own shame. All these people are considered as dogs; they will not be concerned with testifying falsely.

Included are those who partake of charity given by gentiles in public. Although they could derive this benefit in private, they denigrate themselves and accept it in public without showing concern for their honor. All of these individuals are disqualified according to Rabbinical decree.

ה

וְכֵן הַבְּזוּיִין פְּסוּלִין לְעֵדוּת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם וְהֵם הָאֲנָשִׁים שֶׁהוֹלְכִין וְאוֹכְלִין בַּשּׁוּק בִּפְנֵי כָּל הָעָם וּכְגוֹן אֵלּוּ שֶׁהוֹלְכִין עֲרוּמִים בַּשּׁוּק בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵן עוֹסְקִין בִּמְלָאכָה מְנֻוֶלֶת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין מַקְפִּידִין עַל הַבּשֶׁת. שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ חֲשׁוּבִין כְּכֶלֶב וְאֵין מַקְפִּידִין עַל עֵדוּת שֶׁקֶר. וּמִכְּלַל אֵלּוּ הָאוֹכְלִין צְדָקָה שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לָהֶן שֶׁיִּזּוֹנוּ בְּצִנְעָה מְבַזִּים עַצְמָן וְאֵינָן חוֹשְׁשִׁין. כָּל אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

6

What is the difference between a person who is disqualified as a witness according to Scriptural Law and one who is disqualified by Rabbinic decree? The testimony of a person disqualified by Scriptural Law is nullified even though it was not announced in synagogues and houses of study that he is unacceptable.

Announcements must be made about a person who is disqualified by Rabbinic decree, by contrast, before his testimony is disqualified. Accordingly, any testimony that he gives before such announcements are made are accepted so that people who relied on him will not suffer a loss, for they did not know that he was unacceptable, and he is disqualified only by Rabbinic decree.

ו

מַה בֵּין פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת מִן הַתּוֹרָה לְפָסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. שֶׁהַפָּסוּל מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁהֵעִיד עֵדוּתוֹ בְּטֵלָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִכְרִיזוּ עָלָיו בְּבָתֵּי כְּנֵסִיּוֹת וּבְבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת וְהַפָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם צָרִיךְ הַכְרָזָה. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל עֵדוּת שֶׁהֵעִיד קֹדֶם שֶׁהִכְרִיזוּ עָלָיו מְקַבְּלִין אוֹתָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא לְאַבֵּד זְכוּת הָעָם שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא יָדְעוּ שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל וְאֵין פְּסוּלוֹ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

7

The testimony of one witness is acceptable with regard to the Torah's prohibitions, even though his testimony is not accepted with regard to other matters. This is evident from the fact that when a wicked person known to transgress slaughters an animal, his slaughter is acceptable. We accept his word when he says: "I slaughtered it according to law." When, however, a person is suspected of violating a particular prohibition frequently, his word is not accepted with regard to his own matters. His word is accepted, however, with regard to others.

ז

עֵד אֶחָד נֶאֱמָן בְּאִסּוּרִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל לִשְׁאָר עֵדוּיוֹת. שֶׁהֲרֵי רָשָׁע בַּעֲבֵרָה שֶׁשָּׁחַט שְׁחִיטָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה וְנֶאֱמָן לוֹמַר כַּהֲלָכָה שָׁחַטְתִּי. אֲבָל הֶחָשׁוּד עַל דָּבָר אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן עַל שֶׁלּוֹ אֲבָל נֶאֱמָן הוּא עַל אֲחֵרִים:

8

For this reason, a person suspected of violating a particular prohibition may serve as a judge and as a witness for others. We operate under the assumption that a person will not transgress so that others will benefit.

What is implied? The word of an unlearned person is accepted if he states: "The produce of so-and-so has been tithed." Similarly, the word of a person who is suspected of selling the meat of a firstborn is accepted if he states: "The meat which so-and-so is selling is ordinary meat." Similar principles apply with regard to other prohibitions. For the wicked fear the Torah's prohibitions, but they do not fear causing others monetary loss.

ח

לְפִיכָךְ הֶחָשׁוּד עַל דָּבָר יֵשׁ לוֹ לָדוּן בּוֹ וּלְהָעִיד בּוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים. חֲזָקָה אֵין אָדָם חוֹטֵא כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּהָנוּ אֲחֵרִים. כֵּיצַד. נֶאֱמָן עַם הָאָרֶץ לוֹמַר פֵּרוֹת פְּלוֹנִי מְתֻקָּנִים הֵם. וְנֶאֱמָן הַנֶּחְשָׁד לִמְכֹּר בְּשַׂר בְּכוֹר לוֹמַר בָּשָׂר זֶה שֶׁמּוֹכֵר פְּלוֹנִי חֻלִּין הוּא. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה מִשְּׁאָר הָאִסּוּרִין. לְפִי שֶׁאֵימַת הָאִסּוּרִים עַל הָרְשָׁעִים וְאֵין אֵימַת הַמָּמוֹן עֲלֵיהֶן:

9

The Kings of Israel may not testify, nor is testimony given against them, because they are strong-armed men of power who do not subjugate themselves to the yoke of the judges. Testimony may be made against a High Priest, by contrast, and he may give testimony concerning the king in the Supreme Sanhedrin, as explained.

ט

מַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא מְעִידִין וְלֹא מְעִידִין עֲלֵיהֶן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן אַלָּמִים בַּעֲלֵי זְרוֹעַ וְאֵינָן נִכְנָעִין תַּחַת עֹל הַדַּיָּנִים. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל מְעִידִין עָלָיו וּמֵעִיד הוּא לַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

10

Our Sages had no need to list informers, epicursim, and apostates among those who are not acceptable as witnesses. For they listed only the wicked among the Jewish people. These rebellious deserters of the faith are inferior to the gentiles. Gentiles need not be saved from a pit, but neither should they be pushed into one the pious among them will receive a share in the world to come. These deserters of the faith should be pushed into a pit and should not be saved from one; they will not receive a portion in the world to come.

י

הַמּוֹסְרִין וְהָאֶפִּיקוֹרוֹסִין וְהַמּוּמָרִים לֹא הִצְרִיכוּ חֲכָמִים לִמְנוֹתָן בִּכְלַל פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת שֶׁלֹּא מָנוּ אֶלָּא רִשְׁעֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל אֵלּוּ הַמּוֹרְדִין הַכּוֹפְרִין פְּחוּתִין הֵן מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם. שֶׁהָעַכּוּ''ם לֹא מַעֲלִין וְלֹא מוֹרִידִין וְיֵשׁ לַחֲסִידֵיהֶן חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְאֵלּוּ מוֹרִידִין וְלֹא מַעֲלִין וְאֵין לָהֶן חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

Edut - Chapter 12

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:

Edut - Chapter 13

1

Relatives are disqualified as witnesses according to Scriptural Law, as implied by Deuteronomy 24:16: "Fathers shall not die because of sons." According to the Oral Tradition, the verse is interpreted as meaning that included in this prohibition is that fathers should not die because of the testimony of sons, nor should sons die because of the testimony of fathers. Similar laws apply with regard to other relatives.

According to Scriptural Law, only paternal relatives are disqualified - i.e., a father with his sons and grandsons, paternal brothers with each other, and the sons of paternal brothers with each other. Needless to see the uncles may not testify with their brother's sons. Maternal relatives or people related by marriage are disqualified only by Rabbinic decree.

א

הַקְּרוֹבִים פְּסוּלִים לְעֵדוּת מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד טז) "לֹא יוּמְתוּ אָבוֹת עַל בָּנִים". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁבִּכְלַל לָאו זֶה שֶׁלֹּא יוּמְתוּ אָבוֹת עַל פִּי בָּנִים וְלֹא בָּנִים עַל פִּי אָבוֹת. וְהוּא הַדִּין לִשְׁאָר קְרוֹבִים. אֵין פְּסוּלִין מִדִּין תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא קְרוֹבִים מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת אָב בִּלְבַד. וְהֵם הָאָב עִם הַבֵּן וְעִם בֶּן הַבֵּן. וְהָאַחִין מִן הָאָב זֶה עִם זֶה וּבְנֵיהֶן זֶה עִם זֶה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר הַדּוֹדִים עִם בֶּן אָחִיו. אֲבָל שְׁאָר הַקְּרוֹבִים מִן הָאֵם אוֹ מִדֶּרֶךְ הָאִישׁוּת כֻּלָּן פְּסוּלִין מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

2

Converts are not considered as relatives. Even two twin brothers who convert may testify on each others behalf. For a convert is considered as a newborn child.

ב

הַגֵּרִים אֵינָן בְּדִין הַקְּרוֹבִים. אֲפִלּוּ שְׁנֵי אַחִים תְּאוֹמִים שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרוּ מְעִידִין זֶה לָזֶה. שֶׁהַגֵּר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר כְּקָטָן שֶׁנּוֹלַד הוּא חָשׁוּב:

3

Brothers - whether maternal brothers or paternal - are considered as one degree removed. Their sons are considered as two degrees removed. And their grandsons are three degrees removed.

ג

הָאַחִים זֶה עִם זֶה בֵּין מִן הָאֵם בֵּין מִן הָאָב הֲרֵי הֵן רִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן. וּבְנֵיהֶם זֶה עִם זֶה שֵׁנִי בְּשֵׁנִי. וּבְנֵי בְּנֵיהֶם זֶה עִם זֶה שְׁלִישִׁי בִּשְׁלִישִׁי:

4

A person who is three degrees removed may testify on behalf of one who is one degree removed. Needless to say, one who is three degrees removed may testify on behalf of one who is two degrees removed. But two who are both two degrees removed, and needless to say, one who is two degrees removed and one who is one degree removed are both disqualified from testifying.

ד

וּלְעוֹלָם שְׁלִישִׁי בְּרִאשׁוֹן כָּשֵׁר וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שְׁלִישִׁי בְּשֵׁנִי. אֲבָל שֵׁנִי בְּשֵׁנִי וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֵׁנִי בְּרִאשׁוֹן שְׁנֵיהֶם פְּסוּלִים:

5

A father and his son are considered as one degree removed. Therefore a father is disqualified from testifying with his grandson. With his great-grandson, i.e., the fourth generation, he is acceptable, for he is of the first degree and the great-grandson, three degrees, removed. Similar laws apply with regard to women relatives.

What is implied? Two sisters or a brother and a sister - whether paternally or maternally related - are considered as one degree removed. Their children whether male or female are considered as two degrees removed and their grandchildren - including the sons of their sons and the daughters of their daughters - are considered as three degrees removed. Just as we count the degrees descendants are removed for males - one degree, two degrees, and three degrees - so, too, we count the degrees for females.

ה

הָאָב עִם בְּנוֹ כְּרִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן הוּא. לְפִיכָךְ הָאָב עִם בֶּן בְּנוֹ פָּסוּל. וְעִם בֶּן בֶּן בְּנוֹ שֶׁהוּא רְבִיעִי מִמֶּנּוּ כָּשֵׁר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא שְׁלִישִׁי בְּרִאשׁוֹן. וְכֵן הַדֶּרֶךְ בִּנְקֵבוֹת. כֵּיצַד. שְׁתֵּי אֲחָיוֹת אוֹ אָח וַאֲחוֹתוֹ בֵּין מִן הָאָב בֵּין מִן הָאֵם הֲרֵי הֵם רִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן. בְּנֵיהֶם בֵּין זְכָרִים בֵּין נְקֵבוֹת שֵׁנִי בְּשֵׁנִי. בְּנֵי בְּנֵיהֶם אוֹ בְּנוֹת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶן שְׁלִישִׁי בִּשְׁלִישִׁי. כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹנֶה בִּזְכָרִים רִאשׁוֹן שֵׁנִי וּשְׁלִישִׁי כָּךְ אַתָּה מוֹנֶה בִּנְקֵבוֹת:

6

Whenever a person is disqualified from testifying on behalf of a woman, he is also disqualified from testifying on behalf of her husband, for a husband is considered like his wife. Conversely, whenever a person is disqualified from testifying on behalf of a man, he is also disqualified from testifying on behalf of his wife, for a wife is considered like her husband.

ו

כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁאַתָּה פָּסוּל לָהּ כָּךְ אַתָּה פָּסוּל לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁהַבַּעַל כְּאִשְׁתּוֹ. וְכָל בַּעַל שֶׁאַתָּה פָּסוּל לוֹ כָּךְ אַתָּה פָּסוּל לְאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה כְּבַעְלָהּ:

7

Whenever two women are removed by second degrees, their husbands may testify on behalf of each other. If, however, the women are one degree removed, e.g., a man married a woman, and a colleague married her daughter, the two men may not testify on each other's behalf.

ז

כָּל שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֶׁהֵן זוֹ עִם זוֹ שֵׁנִי בְּשֵׁנִי בַּעְלֵיהֶן מְעִידִין זֶה לָזֶה. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה רִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן כְּגוֹן שֶׁלָּקַח זֶה אִשָּׁה וְזֶה בִּתָּהּ אֵין מְעִידִין זֶה לָזֶה:

8

Similarly, the husbands of two sisters are disqualified with regard to each other and are considered as one degree removed.

ח

וְכֵן בַּעְלֵי אֲחָיוֹת פְּסוּלִין זֶה לָזֶה וַהֲרֵי הֵן רִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן:

9

Similarly, a person should not testify on behalf of the son of his wife's sister, nor on behalf of the husband of the daughter of his wife's sister. He may, however, testify on behalf of the son of the husband of his wife's sister who was born to that person from another wife.

ט

וְכֵן לֹא יָעִיד לְבֶן אֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְלֹא לְבַעַל בַּת אֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲבָל מֵעִיד הוּא לְבֶן בַּעַל אֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ מֵאִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת:

10

Whenever a witness is disqualified from testifying on behalf of a colleague because he is married to the witness' relative, the witness may testify on behalf of the other relatives of that colleague, e.g., his son and his brother. Similarly, whenever a witness is disqualified from testifying on behalf of a woman because she is married to the witness' relative, the witness may testify on behalf of her other relatives, e.g., her son and her brother.

י

כָּל אִישׁ שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה מֵעִיד לוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל קְרוֹבָתְךָ הֲרֵי אַתָּה מֵעִיד לִשְׁאָר קְרוֹבָיו כְּגוֹן בְּנוֹ וְאָחִיו. וְכֵן כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה מֵעִיד לָהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא אֵשֶׁת קְרוֹבְךָ הֲרֵי אַתָּה מֵעִיד לִשְׁאָר קְרוֹבֶיהָ:

11

The father of a bride and the father of a groom may testify on behalf of each other.

יא

אֲבִי כַּלָּה וַאֲבִי חָתָן מְעִידִים זֶה לָזֶה:

12

A person's paternal brother may testify on behalf of that person's maternal brother and the maternal brother may testify on behalf of the paternal brother, for they have no connection whatsoever.

What is implied? Rachel married Joseph and bore him a son Reuven. Joseph had a son, Menashe, from another wife. Joseph died and Rachel married Shimon and bore him Judah. Menashe and Judah may testify on each other's behalf.

יב

אֲחֵי הָאָח מִן הָאֵם מְעִידִין זֶה לָזֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין בֵּינֵיהֶן קֻרְבָה כְּלָל. כֵּיצַד. רָחֵל שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת לְיוֹסֵף וְיָלְדָה מִמֶּנָּה רְאוּבֵן. וְהָיָה לְיוֹסֵף בֵּן מֵאִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת וְהוּא מְנַשֶּׁה. וּמֵת יוֹסֵף וְנִשֵּׂאת לְשִׁמְעוֹן וְיָלְדָה מִמֶּנּוּ יְהוּדָה. הֲרֵי מְנַשֶּׁה וִיהוּדָה מְעִידִין זֶה לָזֶה:

13

A man and his wife are considered as being removed by one degree. Hence a husband may not testify on behalf of his wife's son, the wife of his wife's son, his wife's daughter, the husband of his wife's daughter, his wife's father, his wife's mother, the husband of his wife's mother, nor the wife of his wife's father.

יג

הָאִישׁ עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ רִאשׁוֹן בְּרִאשׁוֹן. לְפִיכָךְ אֵינוֹ מֵעִיד לֹא לִבְנָהּ. וְלֹא לְאֵשֶׁת בְּנָהּ. וְלֹא לְבִתָּהּ. וְלֹא לְבַעַל בִּתָּהּ. וְלֹא לְאָבִיהָ. וְלֹא לְאִמָּהּ. וְלֹא לְבַעַל אִמָּהּ. וְלֹא לְאֵשֶׁת אָבִיהָ:

14

When a person has consecrated a woman, although the marriage bond has not been consummated, with regard to testimony, it is as if she is fully married.

To whom does the above apply? To the woman he consecrated herself; he may not testify on her behalf. If, however, he testifies on behalf of the relatives of the woman he consecrated, e.g., her sister's husband, her son or daughter, or the like, we do not disqualify him until he marries her.

יד

אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲרוּסָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִגְמְרָה הָאִישׁוּת הֲרֵי הִיא כִּנְשׂוּאָה לְעִנְיַן עֵדוּת. [בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים] בַּאֲרוּסָתוֹ עַצְמָהּ שֶׁאֵינוֹ מֵעִיד לָהּ. אֲבָל אִם הֵעִיד לִקְרוֹבֵי אֲרוּסָתוֹ כְּגוֹן בַּעַל אֲחוֹתָהּ אוֹ בְּנָהּ וּבִתָּהּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֵין פּוֹסְלִין אוֹתָהּ עַד שֶׁיִּשָּׂאֶנָּה:

15

The Torah did not disqualify the testimony of relatives because we assume that they love each other, for a relative may not testify neither on his relative's behalf or against his interests. Instead, this is a Scriptural decree.

For this reason people who love each other or who hate each other are acceptable as witnesses even though they are not acceptable as judges. For the Scriptural decree disqualifies only relatives as witnesses.

טו

זֶה שֶׁפָּסְלָה תּוֹרָה עֵדוּת הַקְּרוֹבִים לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בְּחֶזְקַת אוֹהֲבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ מֵעִיד לוֹ לֹא לְטוֹבָתוֹ וְלֹא לְרָעָתוֹ. אֶלָּא גְּזֵרַת הַכָּתוּב הוּא. לְפִיכָךְ הָאוֹהֵב וְהַשּׂוֹנֵא כָּשֵׁר לְעֵדוּת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל לְדַיָּנוּת. שֶׁלֹּא גָּזְרָה תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל הַקְּרוֹבִים:

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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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