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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Edut - Chapter 17, Edut - Chapter 18, Edut - Chapter 19

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Edut - Chapter 17

1

When many men of great wisdom and fear of God testify to a person and tell him that they saw so-and-so commit a particular transgression or borrow money from a colleague, although the listener believes the matter in his heart as if he saw it actually transpire, he may not deliver testimony unless he actually sees the matter or the borrower acknowledges the debt verbally to him, saying: "Be a witness for me that so-and-so lent me a maneh." These concepts are derived from Leviticus 5:1 which states: "And should he witness, see, or know of the matter...." There is no testimony that can be established through sight or knowledge alone except testimony involving financial matters.

Whenever a person delivers testimony on the basis of the statements of others, he is a false witness and transgresses a negative commandment, as Exodus 20:16 states: "Do not bear false witness against your neighbor."

א

מִי שֶׁהֵעִידוּ לוֹ אֲנָשִׁים רַבִּים וּגְדוֹלִים בְּחָכְמָה וּבְיִרְאָה שֶׁהֵם אוֹמְרִים שֶׁרָאוּ פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה פְּלוֹנִית. אוֹ שֶׁלָּוָה מִפְּלוֹנִי. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מַאֲמִין הַדָּבָר בְּלִבּוֹ כְּאִלּוּ רָאָהוּ לֹא יָעִיד עַד שֶׁיִּרְאֶה הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינָיו אוֹ יוֹדֶה לוֹ הַלּוֶֹה מִפִּיו וְיֹאמַר לוֹ הֱיֵה עָלַי עֵד שֶׁפְּלוֹנִי הִלְוָה לִי מָנֶה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ה א) "וְהוּא עֵד אוֹ רָאָה אוֹ יָדָע". וְאֵין לְךָ עֵדוּת שֶׁמִּתְקַיֶּמֶת בִּרְאִיָּה אוֹ בִּידִיעָה אֶלָּא עֵדוּת מָמוֹן. וְכָל הַמֵּעִיד מִפִּי אֲחֵרִים הֲרֵי זֶה עֵד שֶׁקֶר וְעוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כ יג) "לֹא תַעֲנֶה בְרֵעֲךָ עֵד שָׁקֶר":

2

Therefore, we issue a warning also to witnesses who testify regarding financial matters.

How do we warn them? We issue this warning in the presence of all onlookers, telling them the severity of bearing false testimony and the shame suffered by those who deliver such testimony in this world and in the world to come.

Afterwards, we order all other people to go outside and leave the witness of the greatest stature inside. We say to him: "Tell us the basis on which you know that this person owes money to that." If he says: "He told me that the borrower said that I owe him the money," or he says: "So-and-so told me that he owed him money," his statements are of no consequence. He must say: "In our presence, the defendant admitted to the plaintiff that he owes him the money."

Afterwards, we bring in the second witness and check his testimony in this manner. If their testimony corroborates each other's, the judges deliberate over the matter and conclude the judgment.

ב

לְפִיכָךְ מְאַיְּמִין אַף עַל עֵדֵי הַמָּמוֹן. וְכֵיצַד מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן. [מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶם] בִּפְנֵי הַכּל. וּמוֹדִיעִין אוֹתָן כֹּחַ עֵדוּת שֶׁקֶר וּבֹשֶׁת הַמֵּעִיד בָּהּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וּבָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מוֹצִיאִין אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לַחוּץ וּמְשַׁיְּרִין אֶת הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבָּעֵדִים וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ אֱמֹר הֵיאַךְ אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁזֶּה חַיָּב לָזֶה. אִם אָמַר שֶׁהוּא אָמַר לִי חַיָּב אֲנִי לוֹ אוֹ אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי אָמַר לִי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לוֹ לֹא אָמַר כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר בְּפָנֵינוּ הוֹדָה לוֹ שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לוֹ. וְהָיוּ מַכְנִיסִין אֶת הָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי וּבוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ כָּךְ. נִמְצְאוּ דִּבְרֵיהֶן מְכֻוָּנִין נוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין בַּדָּבָר וְגוֹמְרִין הַדִּין:

3

The following rules apply if a person hid witnesses against his colleague and that colleague acknowledged his obligation to him in private. The witnesses saw and heard him tell him: "Certainly, I owe you this and this amount, but I am afraid you will call me to judgment tomorrow." This is not valid testimony unless he makes the acknowledgment in the presence of witnessess.

ג

הַמַּטְמִין עֵדִים לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְהוֹדָה לוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ וְהָעֵדִים רוֹאִין וְשׁוֹמְעִין שֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר לוֹ וַדַּאי יֵשׁ לְךָ אֶצְלִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ אֲבָל מִתְיָרֵא אֲנִי שֶׁמָּא תְּכוּפֵנִי בְּדִין לְמָחָר הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ עֵדוּת עַד שֶׁיּוֹדֶה בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים:

4

Whether a person acknowledged a debt to a colleague, making the admission in a sincere manner that he owes him such-and-such an amount, he told the witnesses: "You are my witnesses," or he told them "Serve as witnesses for me," they are valid witnesses. This applies whether the statement is made by the borrower or whether it is made by the lender and the borrower remains silent as if he is accepting his words. Needless to say, it applies if he affirmed the appointment with an act of contract, telling them: "Compose a legal document stating that I owe so-and-so this-and-this amount," or the like, his statement is considered as an admission and the witnesses may testify on this basis.

ד

אֶחָד הַמּוֹדֶה בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים. וְאָמַר דֶּרֶךְ הוֹדָאָה זֶה יֵשׁ לוֹ אֶצְלִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר אַתֶּם עֵדַי אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֱיוּ עָלַי עֵדִים. בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר הַלּוֶֹה בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר הַמַּלְוֶה וְשָׁתַק הַלּוֶֹה דֶּרֶךְ מַאֲמִין לִדְבָרָיו. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ עֵדִים. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם כִּתְבוּ עָלַי שְׁטָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָזֶה אֶצְלִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי הֵם הוֹדָאָה וּמְעִידִין עַל פִּיו:

5

When a teacher tells a student: "You know that if they would give me all the money in the world, I would not lie. So-and-so owes me a maneh. I have one witness against him. Please, join him." If he joins him, he is a false witness.

ה

תַּלְמִיד שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ רַבּוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אַתָּה שֶׁאִם נוֹתְנִין לִי כָּל מָמוֹן הָעוֹלָם אֵינִי מְשַׁקֵּר מָנֶה יֵשׁ לִי אֵצֶל פְּלוֹנִי וְיֵשׁ לִי עָלָיו עֵד אֶחָד לֵךְ וְהִצְטָרֵף עִמּוֹ. אִם נִצְטָרֵף הֲרֵי זֶה עֵד שֶׁקֶר:

6

If he tells him: "Come and stand together with the witness. You do not have to testify, but the borrower will become frightened and panic, thinking that you are two witnesses and he will admit the debt on his own volition," the student is forbidden to stand and make it appear that he is a witness even though he does not deliver testimony. With regard to this and similar matter, Exodus 23:7 states: "Keep distant from words of falsehood."

ו

אָמַר לוֹ בּוֹא וַעֲמֹד עִם הָעֵד וְלֹא תָּעִיד כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּרְאֶה הַלּוֶֹה וִיפַחֵד וְיַעֲלֶה עַל דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁאַתֶּם שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וְיוֹדֶה מֵעַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לַעֲמֹד וּלְהַרְאוֹת שֶׁהוּא עֵד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מֵעִיד. וְעַל זֶה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ נֶאֱמַר (שמות כג ז) "מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק":

7

A person who hires false witnesses to testify against a colleague is not liable according to mortal law, but does have a moral and spiritual obligation. Similarly, one witness who refrains from testifying is not liable according to mortal law, but does have a moral and spiritual obligation.

ז

הַשּׂוֹכֵר עֵדֵי שֶׁקֶר לְהָעִיד לַחֲבֵרוֹ פָּטוּר מִדִּינֵי אָדָם וְחַיָּב בְּדִינֵי שָׁמַיִם. וְכֵן עֵד אֶחָד שֶׁכָּבַשׁ עֵדוּתוֹ וְלֹא הֵעִיד פָּטוּר מִדִּינֵי אָדָם וְחַיָּב בְּדִינֵי שָׁמַיִם:

Edut - Chapter 18

1

When a person delivered false testimony and witnesses testify to that fact, he is called an eid zomeim, "a conspiring witness."

It is a positive mitzvah to requite him in the manner in which he desired through his testimony to effect his colleague. If witnesses testify with regard to a transgression for which one is liable to be stoned to death and it is proved that they testified falsely, they are all stoned. If the transgression was punishable by being burned to death, they are burned to death. Similar laws apply with regard to other forms of capital punishment.

If they testified falsely with regard to a transgression punishable by lashes, each one of them is lashed as are all those obligated to be lashed. We estimate their capacity to bear the lashes and they are lashed. If they testified falsely to obligate the defendant to make a financial payment, we divide that amount according to the number of lying witnesses. Each witness must pay his share. The lying witnesses do not receive lashes when they are required to make financial reimbursement.

א

מִי שֶׁהֵעִיד בְּשֶׁקֶר וְנוֹדַע בְּעֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִיד בְּשֶׁקֶר זֶהוּ שֶׁנִּקְרָא עֵד זוֹמֵם. וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ כְּמָה שֶׁרָצָה לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּעֵדוּתוֹ לַחֲבֵרוֹ. אִם בַּעֲבֵרָה שֶׁחַיָּבִין עָלֶיהָ סְקִילָה הֵעִידוּ וְהוּזְמוּ נִסְקָלִין כֻּלָּן. וְאִם בִּשְׂרֵפָה נִשְׂרָפִין וְכֵן שְׁאָר הַמִּיתוֹת. וְאִם הֵעִידוּ בְּמַלְקוֹת לוֹקֶה כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כִּשְׁאָר מְחֻיְּבֵי מַלְקוֹת. וְאוֹמְדִין כֹּחוֹ וּמַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ. וְאִם הֵעִידוּ לְחַיְּבוֹ מָמוֹן מְשַׁלְּשִׁין הַמָּמוֹן בֵּינֵיהֶן לְפִי מִנְיַן הָעֵדִים. כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד יִתֵּן חֵלֶק הַמַּגִּיעַ לוֹ. וְאֵין לוֹקִין בִּמְקוֹם תַּשְׁלוּמִין:

2

When does the above apply? When the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah? When, however, the testimony of two pairs of witnesses contradict each other, both testimonies are of no consequence, but neither of them receives punishment, because we do not know which pair is lying.

What is the difference between testimony which is contradicted and testimony which is disqualified through hazamah? A contradiction concerns the testimony itself. One pair states: "This is what took place," and the other pair states: "It never took place," or that conclusion was obvious from his statements. Hazamah, by contrast, focuses on the witnesses themselves. The witnesses who disqualify them do not know whether the event happened or not.

What is implied? Witnesses come and say: "We saw so-and-so kill a person..." or "...lend money to so-and-so on this-and-this date in this-and-this place." After they testified and the testimony was investigated, two other witnesses came and said: "On that day, we were with you and with those people the entire day and those things never happened. He never killed him," or "...He never lent him." This is considered a contradiction.

Similarly, if witnesses say: "How can you testify in this manner. Either the murderer - or the victim or the borrower or the lender - were with us on that day in another city," the testimony is considered to be contradicted. This is as if they said: "So-and-so did not kill him..." or "So-and-so did not lend him, for they were together with us and this thing did not happen." Similar principles apply in all analogous situations.

If, however, the second pair of witnesses say: "We do not know if so-and-so killed so-and-so on this day in Jerusalem as you say or not. We are, however, testifying that you yourselves were with us in Babylon on that date," the first pair of witnesses are considered as zomeimim and they are executed or required to make financial restitution. The rationale is that the witnesses who disqualified them did not concern themselves with the testimony itself whether it was true or false, but with the presence of the witnesses in the place mentioned.

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּעֵדִים שֶׁהוּזְמוּ. אֲבָל שְׁתֵּי כִּתּוֹת הַמַּכְחִישׁוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ וְאֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת אֵין עוֹנְשִׁין אֶת אַחַת מֵהֶן. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים מִי הִיא הַכַּת הַשַּׁקְרָנִית. וּמַה בֵּין הַכְחָשָׁה לַהֲזָמָה. הַהַכְחָשָׁה בָּעֵדוּת עַצְמָהּ זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת הָיָה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְזֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא הָיָה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אוֹ יָבוֹא מִכְּלַל דְּבָרֶיהָ שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה. וְהַהֲזָמָה בָּעֵדִים עַצְמָן וְאֵלּוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁהֱזִימוּם אֵינָן יוֹדְעִים אִם נִהְיָה הַדָּבָר אוֹ לֹא הָיָה. כֵּיצַד. עֵדִים שֶׁבָּאוּ וְאָמְרוּ רָאִינוּ זֶה שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אוֹ לָוָה מָנֶה מִפְּלוֹנִי בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי. וְאַחַר שֶׁהֵעִידוּ וְנִבְדְּקוּ בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים וְאָמְרוּ בְּיוֹם זֶה וּבְמָקוֹם זֶה הָיִינוּ עִמָּכֶם וְעִם אֵלּוּ כָּל הַיּוֹם. וְלֹא הָיוּ דְּבָרִים מֵעוֹלָם לֹא זֶה הָרַג אֶת זֶה וְלֹא זֶה הִלְוָה אֶת זֶה הֲרֵי זוֹ הַכְחָשָׁה. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרוּ לָהֶם הֵיאַךְ אַתֶּם מְעִידִים כָּךְ וְזֶה הַהוֹרֵג אוֹ הַנֶּהֱרָג אוֹ הַלּוֶֹה אוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה הָיָה עִמָּנוּ בְּיוֹם זֶה בִּמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת. הֲרֵי זוֹ עֵדוּת מֻכְחֶשֶׁת שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לֹא הָרַג זֶה אֶת זֶה וְלֹא זֶה הִלְוָה אֶת זֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי עִמָּנוּ הָיוּ וְלֹא נִהְיָה דָּבָר זֶה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. אֲבָל אִם אָמְרוּ לָהֶם אָנוּ אֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים אִם זֶה הָרַג זֶה בְּיוֹם זֶה בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם כְּמוֹ שֶׁאַתֶּם אוֹמְרִין אוֹ לֹא הֲרָגוֹ. וְאָנוּ מְעִידִים שֶׁאַתֶּם עַצְמְכֶם הֱיִיתֶם עִמָּנוּ בְּיוֹם זֶה בְּבָבֶל. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ זוֹמְמִים וְנֶהֱרָגִין אוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין. הוֹאִיל וְהָעֵדִים שֶׁהֱזִימוּם לֹא הִשְׁגִּיחוּ עַל עַצְמָהּ שֶׁל עֵדוּת כְּלָל אִם אֱמֶת הָיָה אוֹ שֶׁקֶר:

3

The fact that the Torah accepted the word of the latter pair of witnesses instead of that of the first pair of witnesses is a Scriptural decree. Even if there were 100 in the first group of witnesses and two witnesses came and disqualified them all through hazamah, saying: "We testify that all 100 of you were together with us on this date in this place," the 100 witnesses are punished on the basis of their testimony. For two witnesses are equivalent to 100 and 100 are equivalent to two. Similarly, when two groups of witnesses contradict each other, we do not follow the majority instead, we nullify the testimony of both.

ג

וְזֶה שֶׁהֶאֱמִינָה תּוֹרָה עֵדוּת הָאַחֲרוֹנִים עַל הָעֵדִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים גְּזֵרַת הַכָּתוּב הִיא. אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ הָעֵדִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מֵאָה וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וֶהֱזִימוּם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם אָנוּ מְעִידִים שֶׁאַתֶּם הַמֵּאָה כֻּלְּכֶם עִמָּנוּ הֱיִיתֶם בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶעֱנָשִׁין עַל פִּיהֶם. שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם כְּמֵאָה וּמֵאָה כִּשְׁנַיִם. וְכֵן בִּשְׁתֵּי כִּתֵּי עֵדִים הַמַּכְחִישׁוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ אֵין הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹב אֶלָּא דּוֹחִין אֶת שְׁתֵּיהֶן:

4

There is no need for lying witnesses to be given a warning.

When the testimony of witnesses was first contradicted and ultimately, disqualified through hazamah, the lying witnesses are executed, lashed, or forced to make financial restitution. The rationale is that a contradiction is the first stage of hazamah. It is not, however, completed.

ד

עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין אֵינָן צְרִיכִין הַתְרָאָה. וְעֵדִים שֶׁהֻכְחֲשׁוּ וּלְבַסּוֹף הוּזַמּוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶהֱרָגִין אוֹ לוֹקִין אוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַכְחָשָׁה תְּחִלַּת הֲזָמָה הִיא אֶלָּא שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נִגְמְרָה:

5

The testimony of witnesses can be disqualified through hazamah only in their presence. It can, however, be contradicted outside their presence.

When the testimony of witnesses has been disqualified through hazamah outside the presence of the witnesses, it is considered to have been contradicted. Therefore if the witnesses who have been disqualified through hazamah die before the testimony disqualifying them is delivered in their presence, their testimony is nullified, for the two testimonies contradicted each other.

ה

אֵין מְזִימִין אֶת הָעֵדִים אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵיהֶם. וּמַכְחִישִׁין אֶת הָעֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵיהֶם. וְעֵדִים שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵיהֶן הֲרֵי הֻכְחֲשׁוּ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם מֵתוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁהֱזִימוּם קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּזִימוּ אוֹתָם בִּפְנֵיהֶם אֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת שֶׁהֲרֵי הִכְחִישׁוּ זֶה אֶת זֶה:

6

When the testimony of witnesses in cases of capital punishment was contradicted, but was not disqualified through hazamah, they do not receive lashes. This is true, even if the person they testified was killed comes himself to court to prove the suspected murderer's innocence. The rationale is that the prohibition is punishable by execution. Hence, lashes are not given because of it. Nevertheless, the court has the witnesses beaten with stripes for rebellious conduct according to their perception of the severity of the matter.

ו

עֵדֵי נְפָשׁוֹת שֶׁהֻכְחֲשׁוּ וְלֹא הוּזַמּוּ אֲפִלּוּ בָּא הַנֶּהֱרָג בְּרַגְלָיו אֵינָם לוֹקִין. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא לָאו שֶׁנִּתָּן לְאַזְהָרַת מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין וְאֵין לוֹקִין עָלָיו. אֲבָל בֵּית דִּין מַכִּין אוֹתָן מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיִּרְאוּ:

7

A public announcement must be made with regard to lying witnesses. What type of announcement is made? A proclamation is written and sent throughout every city: "So-and-so and so-and-so testified in this manner. They were disqualified through hazamah and executed," "...lashed in our presence," or "fined so-and-so many dinarim." The necessity for this is derived from Deuteronomy 19:20: "Those who remain shall hear and become fearful."

ז

עֵדִים זוֹמְמִים צְרִיכִין הַכְרָזָה. וְהֵיאַךְ הִיא הַהַכְרָזָה שֶׁלָּהֶן. כּוֹתְבִין וְשׁוֹלְחִין בְּכָל עִיר וְעִיר פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי הֵעִידוּ בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ וְהוּזַמּוּ וַהֲרַגְנוּם. אוֹ לָקוּ בְּפָנֵינוּ אוֹ עָנַשְׁנוּ אוֹתָן כָּךְ וְכָךְ דִּינָרִין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט כ) "וְהַנִּשְׁאָרִים יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ":

8

The obligation of lying witnesses to make financial restitution when required is considered as a fine. Therefore, they are not required to pay when they admit their own guilt.

What is implied? The witnesses delivered testimony and their testimony was investigated by the court. Afterwards, they both admitted: "We delivered false testimony. This person does not owe the other person anything." Or they said: "We gave testimony concerning so-and-so with regard to this-and-this amount and we were disqualified through hazamah." They are not required to make restitution because of their own statements.

If, however, they said: "We gave testimony concerning so-and-so, we were disqualified through hazamah in the court of so-and-so and we were obligated to give him this-and-this amount," they are required to make financial restitution. For this is an admission of debt with regard to money that they were already sentenced to pay.

If one witness makes such statements, he is obligated to pay his portion.

ח

חִיּוּב הָעֵדִים זוֹמְמִים לְשַׁלֵּם בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁחַיָּבִין לְשַׁלֵּם קְנָס הוּא וּלְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין עַל פִּי עַצְמָן. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהֵעִידוּ וְנֶחְקְרָה עֵדוּתָן בְּבֵית דִּין וְאַחַר כָּךְ אָמְרוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֵדוּת שֶׁקֶר הֵעַדְנוּ וְאֵין לָזֶה אֵצֶל זֶה כְּלוּם. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ הֵעַדְנוּ עַל זֶה בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ וְהוּזַמְנוּ אֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין עַל פִּיהֶן. אֲבָל אִם אָמְרוּ הֵעַדְנוּ עַל זֶה וְהוּזַמְנוּ בְּבֵית דִּינוֹ שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי וְנִתְחַיַּבְנוּ לִתֵּן לוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְשַׁלְּמִין שֶׁזּוֹ הוֹדָאָה בְּמָמוֹן שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ לִתְּנוֹ. וְאִם אָמַר הָאֶחָד כָּךְ מְשַׁלֵּם חֶלְקוֹ:

Edut - Chapter 19

1

The following rules apply when two witnesses testify, saying: "So-and-so murdered a person in the eastern portion of the hall at this-and-this time," two other witnesses came and said: "You were together with us in the western portion of the hall at that time." If a person standing in the western portion could see what transpires in the eastern portion, they are not disqualified through hazamah. If, however, it is impossible to see what transpires, they are disqualified through hazamah. We do not say perhaps the eyesight of the first pair is very powerful and they can see things which transpire at a greater distance than all other men.

Similar principles apply if two people testified saying: "In the morning, so-and-so committed murder in Jerusalem," and two others come and tell them: "On that day, in the evening, you were together with us in Lod." If it is possible for a person to travel, even on horseback, from Jerusalem to Lod from the morning to the evening, they are not disqualified through hazamah. If not, they are disqualified through hazamah. We do not say perhaps they found a speedy camel and were able to travel the route faster than usual. Instead, we always calculate the matter using according to the known standards and disqualify them through hazamah.

א

שְׁנַּיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ וְאָמְרוּ בְּמִזְרַח הַבִּירָה הָרַג זֶה אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ בְּשָׁעָה פְּלוֹנִית וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶן בְּמַעֲרַב הַבִּירָה הַזֹּאת הֱיִיתֶם עִמָּנוּ בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת. אִם יָכוֹל הָעוֹמֵד בְּמַעֲרָב לִרְאוֹת מַה שֶּׁבַּמִּזְרָח אֵינָן זוֹמְמִין. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִרְאוֹת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ זוֹמְמִין וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין שֶׁמָּא מְאוֹר עֵינֵיהֶם שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹנִים רַב וְרוֹאִין מֵרָחוֹק יֶתֶר מִכָּל אָדָם. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ בַּבֹּקֶר הָרַג זֶה אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶן בְּיוֹם זֶה בָּעֶרֶב הֱיִיתֶם עִמָּנוּ בְּלוּד. אִם יָכוֹל אָדָם לְהַלֵּךְ אֲפִלּוּ עַל הַסּוּס מִירוּשָׁלַיִם לְלוּד מִבֹּקֶר עַד עֶרֶב אֵינָן זוֹמְמִין וְאִם לָאו הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ זוֹמְמִין וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין שֶׁמָּא כַּר קַל בְּיוֹתֵר נִזְדַּמֵּן לָהֶן וְקִפְּלוּ אֶת הַדֶּרֶךְ אֶלָּא בְּדָבָר הַמָּצוּי הַיָּדוּעַ לַכּל מְשַׁעֲרִין לְעוֹלָם וּמְזִימִין אוֹתָן:

2

The following rules apply when two witnesses state: "On Sunday, so-and-so murdered a person in this-and-this place," and two other witnesses came and said: "On that date, you were together with us in another far removed place, but so-and-so certainly murdered the victim on the following day," the murderer and the first pair of witnesses are executed. Even if the second pair of witnesses testify that he committed the murder several days previously,the above laws apply. The rationale is that at the time they delivered testimony, the murderer had not yet been sentenced to death.

If, however, two witnesses come on Tuesday, and say: "On Sunday, so-and-so was sentenced to death," and two others come on Tuesday and say: "On Sunday, you were together with us in this distant place, but so-and-so was sentenced to death on Friday or on Monday," these witnesses are not executed. The rationale is that at the time they testified, the person had already been sentenced to death.

Similar principles apply with regard to the payment of a fine. What is implied? Two people came on Tuesday and said: "On Sunday, so-and-so stole, slaughtered the animal he stole, and was sentenced to pay a fine of four or five times the animal's worth." Two other witnesses come and testify: "On Sunday, you were with us in a distant place, but he was sentenced on Friday" - or even if they said: "On Sunday, so-and-so stole, slaughtered the animal he stole, and was sentenced on Monday," the witnesses who were disqualified through hazamah are not required to make financial restitution. The rationale is that at the time they testified against him, the defendant was obligated to make financial restitution. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ב

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁאָמְרוּ בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת הָרַג זֶה אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ בְּיוֹם זֶה עִמָּנוּ הֱיִיתֶם בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר רָחוֹק אֲבָל בַּיּוֹם שֶׁלְּאַחַר יוֹם זֶה הֲרָגוֹ בְּוַדַּאי אֲפִלּוּ הֵעִידוּ הָאַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁקֹּדֶם כַּמָּה יָמִים הֲרָגוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה הַהוֹרֵג עִם עֵדָיו הָרִאשׁוֹנִים נֶהֱרָגִין שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּזְמוּ. שֶׁבְּעֵת שֶׁהֵעִידוּ שֶׁהָרַג עֲדַיִן לֹא נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ לֵהָרֵג. אֲבָל בָּאוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים בִּשְׁלִישִׁי בְּשַׁבָּת וְאָמְרוּ בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי לַהֲרִיגָה וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת עִמָּנוּ הֱיִיתֶם בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי הָרָחוֹק אֶלָּא מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת אוֹ בְּשֵׁנִי בְּשַׁבָּת נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ. אֵין עֵדִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ נֶהֱרָגִין שֶׁהֲרֵי מִכָּל מָקוֹם בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו כְּבָר נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ לַהֲרִיגָה. וְכֵן לְעִנְיַן תַּשְׁלוּמֵי קְנָס. כֵּיצַד. בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם בִּשְׁלִישִׁי בְּשַׁבָּת וְאָמְרוּ בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת גָּנַב וְטָבַח וְנִגְמַר דִּינוֹ וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת עִמָּנוּ הֱיִיתֶם בְּמָקוֹם רָחוֹק אֲבָל בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ אָמְרוּ [בְּאֶחָד] בְּשַׁבָּת גָּנַב וְטָבַח וּמָכַר וּבְשֵׁנִי בְּשַׁבָּת נִגְמַר דִּינוֹ אֵין עֵדִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ מְשַׁלְּמִין שֶׁהֲרֵי מִכָּל מָקוֹם בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו חַיָּב הָיָה לְשַׁלֵּם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

The witnesses to a legal document may not be disqualified through hazamah unless they testify in court, saying: "We composed the legal document at the time stated. We did not delay the dating of it." If they did not say this, even though a document composed in Jerusalem is dated the first of Nisan and witnesses come and testify that the witnesses to the legal document were in Babylon on that date, the legal document is acceptable and the witnesses are acceptable. For it is possible that they composed the legal document and postdated it, i.e., they were in Jerusalem on the first of Adar and composed the legal document and postdated it, dating it the first of Nisan.

The following rules apply when, by contrast, they said: "We signed the document on the date stated," and they were disqualified through hazamah. If there are witnesses who know the day they signed the legal document or witnesses saw the legal document with their signatures on it on this-and-this date, once they are disqualified through hazamah, they are disqualified retroactively from the date on which it is known that they signed the legal document. The rationale is that witnesses who sign a legal document are considered as if their testimony was delivered in court from the time they signed.

If, however, there are no witnesses who saw them sign, giving testimony, nor did any see the signed document beforehand, the witnesses are disqualified only from the time they testified in court that the signature was theirs, saying: "We signed it on that date." The rationale is that it is possible that on the date that they testified in court, they signed a legal document that had existed for many years and they lied by saying: "We signed it on the day it was dated."

ג

אֵין עֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר נַעֲשִׂין זוֹמְמִין עַד שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ בְּבֵית דִּין שְׁטָר זֶה בִּזְמַנּוֹ כְּתַבְנוּהוּ וְלֹא אִחַרְנוּהוּ. אֲבָל אִם לֹא אָמְרוּ כֵּן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזְּמַנּוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר בְּאֶחָד בְּנִיסָן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאוּ עֵדִים וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁעֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר הָיוּ עִמָּהֶם בְּבָבֶל בְּיוֹם זֶה. הַשְּׁטָר כָּשֵׁר וְהָעֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁכְּתָבוּהוּ וְאִחֲרוּהוּ וּכְשֶׁהָיוּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם בְּאֶחָד בַּאֲדָר כָּתְבוּ שְׁטָר זֶה שָׁם וְאִחֲרוּ זְמַנּוֹ וְכָתְבוּ זְמַנּוֹ בְּנִיסָן. אָמְרוּ בִּזְמַנּוֹ כְּתַבְנוּהוּ וְהוּזַמּוּ אִם יֵשׁ שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים הַיּוֹם שֶׁחָתְמוּ עַל הַשְּׁטָר אוֹ עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּ זֶה הַשְּׁטָר וַחֲתִימַת יָדָם בּוֹ בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ הֲרֵי נִפְסְלוּ לְמַפְרֵעַ מִיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹדַע שֶׁחָתְמוּ עַל הַשְּׁטָר. שֶׁהָעֵדִים הַחֲתוּמִים עַל הַשְּׁטָר הֲרֵי הֵן כְּמִי שֶׁנֶּחְקְרָה עֵדוּתָן בְּבֵית דִּין בְּעֵת הַחֲתִימָה. אֲבָל אִם אֵין עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּ עֵדוּתָן וְלֹא רָאוּ הַשְּׁטָר מִקֹּדֶם אֵין נִפְסָלִין אֶלָּא מֵעֵת שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁזֶּה כְּתַב יָדָן וְאָמְרוּ בִּזְמַנּוֹ כְּתַבְנוּהוּ וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁבְּיוֹם זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם חָתְמוּ עַל הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים וְהֵם שִׁקְּרוּ וְאָמְרוּ בִּזְמַנּוֹ כָּתַבְנוּ:

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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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