Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Edut - Chapter 20, Edut - Chapter 21, Edut - Chapter 22

Video & Audio Classes
Show content in:

Edut - Chapter 20

1

Lying witnesses are neither executed, given lashes, or required to make financial restitution unless both of them were fit to serve as witnesses and they were both disqualified through hazamah after the judgment was rendered.

If, however, only one of them was disqualified through hazamah, they were both disqualified through hazamah before the judgment was rendered, or after the judgment was rendered, one of them was disqualified because of family connections or because he was unfit to serve as a witness, the witnesses are not punished, even though they are disqualified through hazamah and no longer acceptable to deliver testimony in all matters of Scriptural Law.

א

אֵין עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין נֶהֱרָגִין וְלֹא לוֹקִין וְלֹא מְשַׁלְּמִין עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם רְאוּיִין לְעֵדוּת וְיִזּוֹמוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמַר הַדִּין. אֲבָל אִם הוּזַם אֶחָד מֵהֶן בִּלְבַד אוֹ שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם קֹדֶם גְּמַר דִּין אוֹ אַחַר גְּמַר דִּין וְנִמְצָא אֶחָד מֵהֶן קָרוֹב אוֹ פָּסוּל אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ וְנִפְסְלוּ לְכָל עֵדוּת שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה:

2

Although according to Talmudic logic one might differ, if the person against whom they testified was executed and then they were disqualified through hazamah, they are not executed. This is derived from Deuteronomy 19:19: which speaks of: 'what they conspired to do.' Implied is that it was not already done. This rule is part of the Oral Tradition.

If, however, the person against whom they testified was lashed, they are lashed. Similarly, if money was expropriated from one person and given to another, it is returned to its owner and the witnesses are required to pay the penalty.

ב

נֶהֱרַג זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוּזַמּוּ אֵינָן נֶהֱרָגִין מִן הַדִּין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט יט) "כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם לַעֲשׂוֹת" וַעֲדַיִן לֹא עָשָׂה. וְדָבָר זֶה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה. אֲבָל אִם לָקָה זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו לוֹקִין. וְכֵן אִם יָצָא הַמָּמוֹן מִיַּד זֶה לְיַד זֶה בְּעֵדוּתָן חוֹזֵר לִבְעָלָיו וּמְשַׁלְּמִין לוֹ:

3

The following laws apply if there were three or even 100 witnesses. If the witnesses deliver testimony in court one after the other, each one testifying immediately after his colleague and several of them were disqualified through hazamah, they do not receive punishment until all of them are disqualified through hazamah.

If, however, the interval between testimonies was greater than the time it takes a student to greet a teacher, the testimonies are divided and the two who were disqualified through hazamah are punished. The two who testified after there was such an interlude between their testimony and that of the first pair are not punished. This applies even though the entire testimony is disqualified because all of the witnesses are considered as one group and when the testimony of part of a group is disqualified, the entire testimony is disqualified.

ג

הָיוּ הָעֵדִים שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה אִם הֵעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין זֶה אַחַר זֶה וְהֵעִיד כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן אַחַר חֲבֵרוֹ בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר וְהוּזַמּוּ מִקְצָתָן אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין עַד שֶׁיּוּזַמּוּ כֻּלָּן. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הֶפְסֵק בֵּין זֶה לָזֶה יֶתֶר מִכְּדֵי דִּבּוּר שֶׁהוּא כְּדֵי שְׁאֵלַת שָׁלוֹם תַּלְמִיד לְרַב. הֲרֵי נֶחְלְקָה הָעֵדוּת וְהַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ נֶעֱנָשִׁין וְהַשְּׁנַיִם הָאֲחֵרִים שֶׁהָיָה בֵּין דִּבְרֵיהֶן וְדִבְרֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הֶפְסֵק אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבָּטְלָה הָעֵדוּת כֻּלָּהּ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כַּת אַחַת הוֹאִיל וְנִפְסְלָה מִקְּצָתָהּ נִפְסְלָה כֻּלָּהּ:

4

When one witness delivers testimony, that testimony is investigated, and the second witness states: 'I also testify like him,' 'Yes, this is what happened,' or the like, they are both executed, lashed, or subjected to a financial penalty if they are both disqualified through hazamah. The rationale is that any witness who says 'Yes, this is what happened' after his colleague testified is considered as having testified and responded to cross-examination as his colleague did.

There is no concept of inadvertent transgression with regard to lying witnesses, because the transgression does not involve a deed. Therefore there is no need for a warning as we explained.

ד

הֵעִיד הָאֶחָד וְנֶחְקְרָה עֵדוּתוֹ וְאָמַר הַשֵּׁנִי אַף אֲנִי כָּמוֹהוּ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֵן כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה וְהוּזַמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶן נֶהֱרָגִין אוֹ לוֹקִין אוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין. שֶׁכָּל עֵד שֶׁאָמַר אַחַר עֵדוּת חֲבֵרוֹ הֵן הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁנֶּחְקַר וְהֵעִיד כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵעִיד חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאֵין לְעֵדִים זוֹמְמִין שְׁגָגָה לְפִי שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ מַעֲשֶׂה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין צְרִיכִים הַתְרָאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

5

Just as two witnesses can disqualify 100 witnesses through hazamah if the 100 testify at one time; so, too, they can disqualify them through hazamah if they testify as 50 groups, coming two by two.

What is implied? A group of witnesses testified that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem. Two witnesses came and disqualified that group through hazamah. Another group came and delivered that same testimony, that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem and these same two witnesses arose and disqualified that group through hazamah. This happened a third time and a fourth time. Even if it happens 100 times, all the other witnesses are executed on the basis of the testimony of these two.

ה

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם מְזִימִין אֶת הַמֵּאָה אִם הֵעִידוּ הַמֵּאָה בְּבַת אַחַת. כָּךְ הֵן מְזִימִין אוֹתָן אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ חֲמִשִּׁים כַּת וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם אַחַר שְׁנַיִם. כֵּיצַד. כַּת שֶׁהֵעִידָה עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָרַג אֶת שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וֶהֱזִימוּהָ. וּבָאת כַּת שְׁנִיָּה וְהֵעִידָה אוֹתָהּ עֵדוּת עַצְמָהּ שֶׁרְאוּבֵן הָרַג שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְעָמְדוּ אוֹתָן הַשְּׁנַיִם וֶהֱזִימוּהָ גַּם זוֹ הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה וְכֵן הַשְּׁלִישִׁית וְכֵן הָרְבִיעִית אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה כֻּלָּן הֵן נֶהֱרָגִין עַל פִּי אֵלּוּ הַשְּׁנַיִם:

6

When one group of witnesses testify that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem and a second group come and disqualify the first group through hazamah, the lying witnesses should be executed and Reuven's life saved. If a third group come and disqualify the second group through hazamah, the second group and Reuven should be executed and the lives of the first group saved.

If a fourth group come and disqualify the third group through hazamah, the third and the first groups should be executed and the lives of Reuven and the second group saved. Similarly, even if there are 100 groups, each one disqualifying the testimony of the previous through hazamah, one group's testimony is accepted and the other group's testimony is disqualified.

ו

כַּת שֶׁהֵעִידָה עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָרַג אֶת שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאָה כַּת שְׁנִיָּה וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה יֵהָרְגוּ הָעֵדִים הַזּוֹמְמִין וְיִנָּצֵל רְאוּבֵן. בָּאָה כַּת שְׁלִישִׁית וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה תֵּהָרֵג הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה וּרְאוּבֵן וְתִנָּצֵל הַכַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה. בָּאָה כַּת רְבִיעִית וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת שְׁלִישִׁית תֵּהָרֵג הַכַּת הַשְּׁלִישִׁית וְהָרִאשׁוֹנָה וְיִנָּצֵל רְאוּבֵן וְהַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה. וְכֵן אֲפִלּוּ הֵן מֵאָה כַּת זוֹ מְזִמָּה אֶת זוֹ כַּת נִכְנֶסֶת וְכַת יוֹצֵאת:

7

When witnesses testify that a person who is trefe murdered a person and then the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, the witnesses are not executed. The rationale is that even if they had killed him with their hands, they would not be executed, because he is trefe.

Similarly, if witnesses who were trefe testified concerning a matter punishable by execution by the court and were disqualified through hazamah, they are not executed. The rationale is that if their testimony was disqualified through hazamah, and the testimony of the witnesses who testified against them was disqualified through hazamah, those witnesses would not be executed, for they disqualified only a person who was trefe.

ז

עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל אִישׁ טְרֵפָה שֶׁהָרַג וְהוּזַמּוּ אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין. שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הֲרָגוּהוּ בִּידֵיהֶן אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין לְפִי שֶׁהוּא טְרֵפָה. וְכֵן הָעֵדִים שֶׁהָיוּ טְרֵפָה וְהֵעִידוּ בְּדָבָר שֶׁחַיָּבִין עָלָיו מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין וְהוּזַמּוּ אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין. שֶׁאִם יוּזַמּוּ זוֹמְמֵיהֶן אֵין זוֹמְמֵיהֶן נֶהֱרָגִין שֶׁלֹּא הֵזִימוּ אֶלָּא טְרֵפָה:

8

The following rule applies when witnesses testify against another person and have him convicted in a matter that does not involve lashes, capital punishment, or a financial obligation and then the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah. They are given lashes even though they did not conspire to have the defendant lashed or to obligate him financially.

What is implied? Witnesses testified that a priest was a challal, e.g., they testified that his mother was divorced or released through chalitzah in their presence in this-and-this place on this-and-this date. If the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, they are punished by lashing.

Similarly, if they testified that a person inadvertently killed a colleague and they are disqualified through hazamah, they are punished by lashing; they are not exiled. And if they testify that a person's ox killed another person and they were disqualified through hazamah, they receive lashes and are not required to pay an atonement fine. If they testify that a person was sold as a Hebrew servant and they were disqualified through hazamah, they receive lashes. These four rulings are part of the Oral Tradition.

ח

עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל אֶחָד וְהִרְשִׁיעוּהוּ רָשָׁע שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ לֹא מַלְקוֹת וְלֹא מִיתָה וְלֹא חִיּוּב מָמוֹן וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוּזַמּוּ. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לוֹקִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא זָמְמוּ לְהַלְקוֹת זֶה וְלֹא לְחַיְּבוֹ מָמוֹן. כֵּיצַד. הֵעִידוּ עַל כֹּהֵן שֶׁהוּא חָלָל כְּגוֹן שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּפָנֵינוּ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אִמּוֹ אוֹ נֶחְלְצָה בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְהוּזַמּוּ הֲרֵי הֵן לוֹקִין. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִידוּ עַל אָדָם שֶׁהָרַג בִּשְׁגָגָה וְהוּזַמּוּ לוֹקִין וְאֵינָן גּוֹלִין. הֵעִידוּ עַל שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל זֶה שֶׁהָרַג הַנֶּפֶשׁ וְהוּזַמּוּ. הֲרֵי הֵן לוֹקִין וְאֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר. הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁנִּמְכַּר בְּעֶבֶד עִבְרִי וְהוּזַמּוּ לוֹקִין. וְאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה הֵן:

9

With regard to the above matters, our Sages received the following tradition: When two people cause a righteous person to be condemned and a wicked person to be vindicated through their testimony and two others come and disqualify their testimony through hazamah vindicating the righteous person and condemning the wicked, the first pair of witnesses receive lashes even though their condemnation of the righteous person would not have had him subjected to lashes.

If, however, witnesses testify that a person partook of milk and meat or wore shaatnez, they are punished by lashes, as implied by Deuteronomy 19:19: 'You shall requite him as he conspired.'

ט

כָּךְ קִבְּלוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁהִרְשִׁיעוּ אֶת הַצַּדִּיק וְהִצְדִּיקוּ אֶת הָרָשָׁע בְּעֵדוּתָן. וּבָאוּ עֵדִים אֲחֵרִים וֶהֱזִימוּם וְהִצְדִּיקוּ אֶת הַצַּדִּיק וְהִרְשִׁיעוּ אֶת הָרָשָׁע. הֲרֵי עֵדִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים לוֹקִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִרְשִׁיעוּ הַצַּדִּיק לְהַלְקוֹתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁאָכַל בָּשָׂר בְּחָלָב אוֹ שֶׁלָּבַשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לוֹקִין. מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט יט) "וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם":

10

When two witnesses testify that Reuven committed adultery with the daughter of a priest, Reuven was sentenced to death by strangulation and the daughter of the priest was sentenced to be burnt to death, and afterwards the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah, they should be executed by strangulation and not burnt to death. This is part of the Oral Tradition.

י

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁנָּאַף עִם בַּת כֹּהֵן וְנִגְמַר דִּין רְאוּבֵן לֵיחָנֵק וְדִין הַנּוֹאֶפֶת לִשְׂרֵפָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶחְנָקִין וְלֹא נִשְׂרָפִין. וְדָבָר זֶה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה:

Notes:

1. If one of them is unacceptable as a witness, their testimony is no loner effective. Hence they are not punished (Kessef Mishneh).

2. The second pair of witnesses states that one, but not the other of the first pair were with them in a different place at the time they claim that the event transpired.

3. For the punishment was prescribed only for a pair of witnesses (Rashi, Makkot 5b).

4. As described in Chapter 13.

5. As described in Chapters 10-12.

6. As stated in Chapter 10, Halachah 4. They are, however, acceptable in matters where leniency is granted with regard to the acceptance of testimony, e.g., testimony concerning the death of a woman's husband.

7. Our translation is based on the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh who states that the fundamental principle the Rambam is trying to convey with this phrase is that capital punishment is not given unless it is explicitly stated in the Torah. A logical proof is not sufficient.

What is the logic here? If a person who conspires to have a person executed should be executed, should not one who actually caused him to be executed.

8. From the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah and from the gloss of the Radbaz, it appears that although they are not executed, they should be punished by the court.

9. I.e., what they conspired.

10. I.e., the Torah prescribes punishment only in such a situation.

11. The Ra'avad and the Kessef Mishneh question the Rambam's source for this distinction. The Kessef Mishneh explains that it is possible to say that since judgment is ultimately in God's hands, had the executed party not been guilty, God would not have allowed him to be executed. Hence the lying witnesses need not be punished. Alternatively, he can be explained that the punishments inflicted by the courts are not goals in their own right, but means to bring a person to atonement. It is not fitting to give lying witnesses who had a person executed the opportunity to achieve such atonement. Since lashes is not as severe a punishment, neither of these explanations apply.

12. I.e., the plaintiff is required to return it.

13. For financial penalties are established based on Talmudic logic (Kessef Mishneh).

14. As the Rambam continues to explain, the Hebrew term translated as 'immediately after,' toch kidei dibur, has a specific meaning: The time it takes a student to greet a teacher, saying: Shalom alecha rabbi (Hilchot Sh'vuot 2:17).

15. The Ra'avad questions: Since these witnesses were not disqualified through hazamah, why would one think that they should be punished? The Radbaz answers that the very fact that they appeared together with lying witnesses implicates them.

The Lechem Mishneh explains that the Rambam's intent is that even if the second pair of witnesses were also disqualified through hazamah, they are not punished. The rationale is that since their testimony was separated from that of the first pair and by the time they testified the defendant could have been executed because of the testimony of the first pair, their testimony is of no consequence. Hence they are not punished.

16. Thus even if there is no difficulty at all with the testimony of the last pair of witnesses, the defendant is not punished. 17. Because they saw the event together and appeared together in court.

18. The rationale for this distinction can be explained as follows: With regard to the disqualification of witnesses, everything is dependent on the testimony of the witnesses in court. Hence if their testimony is separated, they are not considered as a single group. Their classification as a single group, by contrast, depends on their coming to court together. Since they came together with the intent to testify, they are considered as a single group (Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

The Ra'avad (and Rashi, in his commentary to Makkot 6a) do not accept the Rambam's approach and maintain that even though the first pair of witnesses should be executed, if the testimony of the second pair is validated, the defendant should also be executed.

19. I.e., he is cross-examined by the court, as explained in Chapter 2.

20. I.e., despite the fact that he did not actually testify, it is considered as if he did as the Rambam proceeds to explain. See also Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 2:8 which states that making such statements is equivalent to actually testifying in court.

21. I.e., they receive punishment even if they committed the transgression without knowing that it was forbidden.

22. The Radbaz explains that Numbers 15:29, the source for the laws of inadvertent transgression mentions 'one who acts inadvertently' (see Hilchot Shegagot 1:2). In this context (in contrast to blasphemy), speaking is not considered as an act. Hence they are not held liable.

Nevertheless, the Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh offer a different rationale why these witnesses are punished without a warning: They desired to have the defendant punished although he did not receive a warning. Therefore, they should be punished without a warning.

23. See Chapter 18, Halachah 4.

24. For the entire purpose of a warning is to distinguish between a transgression committed willfully and one committed inadvertently (Hilchot Sanhedrin 12:2).

25. See Chapter 18, Halachah 3.

26. We do not say that they are lying and have resolved to testify against anyone who delivers testimony in this matter (Rashi, Makkot 5a).

27. Because the testimony of the second group exonerates him from the onus of the testimony of the first group.

28. The second group should be executed as lying witnesses who sought to have the first group executed. Reuven should be executed, because once the testimony of the second group has been disqualified, the testimony of the first group is then reinstated.

29. Because the disqualification of the second group exonerates them.

30. I.e., he has a physical ailment that will cause him to die within 12 months.

31. Seemingly, through their testimony, they are trying to have the defendant executed. Nevertheless, despite the fact they testify that the person who is trefe committed a murder, he is not executed. The rationale is that testimony must be able to be disqualified through hazamah. Since it is impossible to punish the witnesses 'as they conspired to do to their brother,' for they conspired to have a sick person executed and they are healthy, the concept of hazamah is not relevant, as stated in Hilchot Rotzeach 2:9.

32. And a person who kills a colleague who is trefe is not liable for execution. For it is as if he killed a dead person (Sanhedrin 78a; Hilchot Rotzeach 2:8).

33. Here also, it would appear that the intent is that since they are seeking to have the person executed, one might think that they should be executed. In fact, however, their testimony is not effective in having the defendant sentenced to death. Since they are trefe, there is no possibility of requiting them 'as they conspired to do to their brother.' For they conspired to have a healthy person executed and they are sick.

Accordingly, the Kessef Mishneh explains that we are speaking about a situation where the court did not recognize that the witnesses were trefe when it accepted their testimony.

34. Thus the punishment is not 'as they conspired to do to their brother.'

35. For the reasons mentioned by the Rambam in the following halachah.

36. I.e., the descendant of a priest who is not considered as a member of the priesthood, because he was conceived in relations forbidden to his father. See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:5.

37. Thus making his mother forbidden to his father.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger raises a question, noting that a woman who underwent chalitzah is only forbidden to a priest by Rabbinic decree. Hence the Ramban and others rule that lashes should not be given. Rabbi Akiva Eiger himself states that since the defendant is being disqualified according to Rabbinic decree through the testimony of the witnesses, and by giving that false testimony, they violate a Scriptural commandment, it is appropriate that they be punished by lashing.

38. We do not say that the witnesses should be considered as challalim themselves. This applies even if the witnesses are priests. Makkot 2b explains this based on Deuteronomy 19:19: 'And you shall requite him as he conspired to do to his brother.' The obligation is to requite him, not to requite his descendants and having him declared a challal would be a punishment against his descendants as well as him.

39. The lying witnesses are not exiled "as they conspired to do to" the defendant. The rationale is that Deuteronomy 19:5 says with regard to a person convicted of inadvertent murder: 'He shall flee to one of these cities.' Makkot, loc. cit., states: ...He,' and not those who conspire against him.'

40. For an atonement fine is not a monetary assessment, but rather a fine designated to bring atonement for the death of the victim. These witnesses do not need that type of atonement, for their ox did not cause death (Rashi, Makkot, loc. cit.; see also Hilchot Nizkei Mammon 10:4-5).

See also the Ketzot HaChoshen 38:2 which explains that even though the witness also caused the ox to be sentenced to death and no benefit to be derived from it. Nevertheless, the witnesses are lashed and not subjected to these penalties. See also the Ramban who differs and maintains that the witnesses are required to make financial restitution and are not lashed.

41. The Nimukei Mahari (based on Makkot, loc. cit.), explains that the intent is that the witnesses testify that the person stole and did not have the money to make restitution for the theft.

42. Although Makkot, loc. cit., outlines how each of these concepts is derived from the exegesis of a verse, since the concepts are not derived through the Thirteen Principles of Biblical Exegesis, the exegesis is considered as only an asmachta. The binding obligation to fulfill these directives stems from the fact that they were transmitted through the Oral Tradition (Radbaz).

43. The Rambam is borrowing the wording of Deuteronomy 25:1-2: 'And they shall validate the righteous and condemn the wicked. If the wicked man is deserving of being beaten...' which continues to speak of the punishment of lashing.

'Condemning the righteous' refers to a situation where lying witnesses caused judgment to be rendered against a righteous person.

44. In this situation, we follow the instructions of the continuation of the verse and punish the person by lashes. Delivering false testimony violates the prohibition 'Do not deliver false testimony against your colleague.' Nevertheless, one might think that since that prohibition does not involve a deed, it is not punishable by lashes. Hence the exegesis of the above verse is necessary. See Makkot 4b (Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

45. As in the four cases mentioned in the previous halachah.

46. I.e., since the lying witnesses delivered testimony concerning a transgression punishable by lashes, there is no need for a special teaching to instruct us to give them that punishment. They are requited in this manner, because this is what they 'conspired to do to their brother' (Kessef Mishneh).

47. See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 3:3 which states that the two parties to this transgression are given different punishments.

48. Sanhedrin 90a derives this from Deuteronomy 19:19 which speaks of requiting a lying witness, 'as he conspired to do to his brother,' his brother and not his sister. This, however, is an asmachta.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger questions what the ruling would be in a situation where the witnesses claim to have given a warning to the woman, but not to the man. He supposes that even in such a situation, they should be executed by strangulation, not burning.

Edut - Chapter 21

1

The following rule applies when witnesses testify that so-and-so divorced his wife and did not pay her the money due her by virtue of her ketubah and, afterwards, these witnesses were disqualified through hazamah. Now either today or tomorrow, when the husband divorces his wife, he must pay her the money due her by virtue of her ketubah. Hence we calculate how much a person would pay for the right to collect the money due this woman by virtue of her ketubah in the event she would be widowed or divorced and the witnesses are required to pay this amount.

When calculating this amount, we take into consideration the state of the woman and the amount of her ketubah. If the woman is sick or old or there is peace between her and her husband, the value for which her ketubah will be sold will not be the same if she is young and healthy or there is strife between the couple. For such a woman is more likely to be divorced and less likely to die.

Similarly, the amount to be received for a large ketubah is not the same as for a small ketubah. For example, if her ketubah is for 1000 zuz, it might be sold for 100. If it is for 100, it will not be sold for 10 but for less. These matters are dependent on the estimates of the judges.

א

עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ שֶׁפְּלוֹנִי גֵּרֵשׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ וְלֹא נָתַן לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה וְהוּזַמּוּ. וַהֲלֹא בֵּין הַיּוֹם בֵּין לְמָחָר אִם גֵּרֵשׁ סוֹפוֹ לִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה. אוֹמְדִין כַּמָּה רוֹצֶה אָדָם לִתֵּן בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ שֶׁל זוֹ שֶׁתִּמְכֹּר אוֹתָהּ בְּטוֹבַת הֲנָאָה וּמְשַׁלְּמִין דְּמֵי טוֹבַת הֲנָאָה זוֹ. וּמְשַׁעֲרִין בְּאִשָּׁה וּבִכְתֻבָּתָהּ. שֶׁאִם הָאִשָּׁה הָיְתָה חוֹלָה אוֹ זְקֵנָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה שָׁלוֹם בֵּינָהּ לְבֵין בַּעְלָהּ אֵין דְּמֵי הַכְּתֻבָּה כְּשֶׁתִּמָּכֵר כְּמוֹ דָּמֶיהָ אִם הָיְתָה הָאִשָּׁה בְּרִיאָה וּקְטַנָּה אִם יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶן קְטָטָה שֶׁזּוֹ קְרוֹבָה מִן הַגֵּרוּשִׁין וּרְחוֹקָה מִן הַמִּיתָה. וְכֵן אֵין טוֹבַת הֲנָאָה שֶׁל כְּתֻבָּה הַמְרֻבָּה לְפִי טוֹבַת הֲנָאָה שֶׁל כְּתֻבָּה הַמּוּעֶטֶת. שֶׁאִם הָיְתָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אֶלֶף זוּז הֲרֵי הִיא נִמְכֶּרֶת בְּטוֹבַת הֲנָאָה בְּמֵאָה. וְאִם הָיְתָה מֵאָה אֵינָהּ נִמְכֶּרֶת בַּעֲשָׂרָה אֶלָּא בְּפָחוֹת. דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיְּשַׁעֲרוּ הַדַּיָּנִים:

2

Similar principles apply in the following situation. Witnesses testify with regard to a person, saying that he is obligated to pay so-and-so 1000 zuz in 30 days. The borrower admits the debt, but says that it is not due until five years and 30 days. If the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, we evaluate how much a person would pay to have 1000 zuz available to him for five years. This is the sum paid to the borrower. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ב

הֵעִידוּ עַל זֶה שֶׁחַיָּב לִפְלוֹנִי אֶלֶף זוּז עַל מְנָת לִתֵּן מִכָּאן וְעַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְהַלּוֶֹה אוֹמֵר עַד חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים אַחַר הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְנִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין. אוֹמְדִין כַּמָּה רוֹצֶה אָדָם לִתֵּן וְיִהְיוּ בְּיָדוֹ אֶלֶף זוּז חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמְשַׁלְּמִין כֵּן לַלּוֶֹה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

When witnesses testify that a person's ox gored another ox and afterwards, the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah, they are required to pay half the damages. If the ox is not worth half the damages, they are required to pay only the value of the ox. For the fine of half of the damages must be paid only from the body of the goring ox itself. Therefore if they testified that the ox consumed produce or broke utensils while walking, the witnesses are required to pay the full amount of the loss. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ג

הֵעִידוּ עַל שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל זֶה שֶׁנָּגַח וְנִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין מְשַׁלְּמִין חֲצִי נֵזֶק. וְאִם אֵין הַשּׁוֹר שָׁוֶה חֲצִי נֵזֶק מְשַׁלְּמִין דְּמֵי הַשּׁוֹר בִּלְבַד שֶׁאֵין מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי נֵזֶק אֶלָּא מִגּוּפוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁאָכַל פֵּרוֹת אוֹ שָׁבַר כֵּלִים בְּדֶרֶךְ הִלּוּכוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

4

When witnesses testify that a person knocked out the tooth of his servant and then blinded the servant's eye, if afterwards, the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah, they are required to pay the master the value of the servant and the value of his eye.

A different rule applies if they testified that the master blinded the servant's eye and afterwards knocked out his tooth, the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah, and it was later discovered that the events occurred in the opposite order, the master knocked out his tooth and afterwards blinded him. The witnesses must pay the worth of the eye to the servant. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ד

הֵעִידוּ עַל פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁהִפִּיל שֵׁן עַבְדּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ סִמֵּא אֶת עֵינוֹ וְהוּזַמּוּ. מְשַׁלְּמִין לָאָדוֹן דְּמֵי הָעֶבֶד וּדְמֵי עֵינוֹ. הֵעִידוּ שֶׁסִּמֵּא אֶת עֵינוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ הִפִּיל אֶת שִׁנּוֹ וְהוּזַמּוּ (וְאַחַר כָּךְ) וְנִמְצָא הַדָּבָר הֵפֶךְ שֶׁהָאָדוֹן הִפִּיל אֶת שִׁנּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ סִמֵּא אֶת עֵינוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין דְּמֵי עַיִן לָעֶבֶד. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

5

When witnesses who testified that a woman was warned by her husband not to enter into privacy with another man or who testified that she disobeyed the warning and entered into privacy with him are disqualified through hazamah, they are punished by lashes. If one witness comes and testifies that she committed adultery after she was warned and entered into privacy, and that witness was disqualified through hazamah, that witness is required to pay the money due her by virtue of her ketubah.

If there were two witnesses and they served as the witnesses for the warning, that she entered into privacy, and that she committed adultery, should they be disqualified through hazamah, they are required to pay the money due her by virtue of her ketubah; they do not receive lashes. Why are they not executed - they gave testimony with regard to adultery? Because they did not warn the woman.

ה

עֵדֵי קִנּוּי וּסְתִירָה שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ לוֹקִין. בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד שֶׁזִּנְּתָה אַחַר קִנּוּי וּסְתִירָה [וְנִמְצָא אוֹתוֹ הָעֵד זוֹמֵם מְשַׁלֵּם כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. הָיוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהֵן עֵדֵי הַקִּנּוּי וְהַסְּתִירָה וְהַטֻּמְאָה] וְנִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין מְשַׁלְּמִין כְּנֶגֶד הַכְּתֻבָּה וְאֵין לוֹקִין. וְלָמָּה לֹא יֵהָרְגוּ וַהֲרֵי הֵעִידוּ בַּטֻּמְאָה. לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא הִתְרוּ בָּהּ:

6

If the lying witnesses testified that a person stole and slaughtered or sold the stolen animal, should they be disqualified through hazamah, they are required to pay the entire amount. If two witnesses testify that the person stole and two others that he slaughtered or sold the animal, and both pairs of witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, the first witnesses are required to pay twice the animal's worth, and the second pair, two or three times its worth.

If the second pair alone were disqualified through hazamah, the thief is required to make a double payment to his victim. The later witnesses must pay the remainder of the four and five time payment. If one of the last witnesses is disqualified through hazamah, the entire last testimony is negated. If one of the first witnesses is disqualified through hazamah, the entire testimony is negated. For if there is no theft, slaughtering it or selling the animal does not obligate the person to pay anything.

ו

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל זֶה שֶׁגָּנַב וְטָבַח אוֹ מָכַר וְהוּזַמּוּ מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכּל. הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁגָּנַב וְהֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים שֶׁטָּבַח אוֹ מָכַר וְהוּזַמּוּ אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ. הֲרֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מְשַׁלְּמִין תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל וְאַחֲרוֹנִים מְשַׁלְּמִין שְׁנַיִם וּשְׁלֹשָׁה. הוּזַמּוּ הָאַחֲרוֹנִים בִּלְבַד הֲרֵי הַגַּנָּב מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל וְהָעֵדִים הָאַחֲרוֹנִים מְשַׁלְּמִין לַגַּנָּב תַּשְׁלוּמֵי אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה. נִמְצָא אֶחָד מִן הָאַחֲרוֹנִים זוֹמֵם בָּטְלָה עֵדוּת שְׁנִיָּה. נִמְצָא אֶחָד מִן הָרִאשׁוֹנִים זוֹמֵם בָּטְלָה כָּל הָעֵדוּת שֶׁאִם אֵין גְּנֵבָה אֵין הַטְּבִיחָה אוֹ הַמְּכִירָה מְחַיַּבְתּוֹ לְשַׁלֵּם כְּלוּם:

7

When two witnesses testify that a person benefited from the produce of a field for three years and are disqualified through hazamah, they must pay the worth of the field to its owner. If two witnesses testify that a person benefited from the produce of a field for one year, two others testified that he benefited from its produce for a second year, and two others testified that he benefited from its produce for a third year, should they all be disqualified through hazamah, they divide the value of the field among themselves. For although the testimony concerning the establishment of the claimant's right to the field involves three separate testimonies, they are one testimony with regard to disqualification through hazamah.

For this reason, when there are three brothers and one other person, that person may join together with all three of the brothers and testify with regard to one of the years. Although they are three testimonies, they are considered as one testimony with regard to disqualification through hazamah. If they are all disqualified through hazamah, the three brothers must together pay half the value of the field and the person who joined together with each of them must pay the other half of its value.

ז

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ שֶׁאָכַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְנִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין מְשַׁלְּמִין לְבַעַל הַשָּׂדֶה דְּמֵי הַשָּׂדֶה. הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁנָה רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנַיִם שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁנָה שְׁנִיָּה וּשְׁנַיִם שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁנָה שְׁלִישִׁית וְהוּזַמּוּ כֻּלָּן מְשַׁלְּשִׁין בֵּינֵיהֶן. שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֵדוּת הַחֲזָקָה שָׁלֹשׁ עֵדֻיּוֹת הֵן הֲרֵי הֵן כְּעֵדוּת אַחַת לַהֲזָמָה. לְפִיכָךְ שְׁלֹשָׁה אַחִים וְאֶחָד מִצְטָרֵף עִם כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד וְהֵעִידוּ בְּשָׁנָה שָׁנָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שָׁלֹשׁ עֵדֻיּוֹת וְתִתְקַיֵּם בָּהֶן הַחֲזָקָה וְהֵן כְּעֵדוּת אַחַת לַהֲזָמָה. שֶׁאִם הוּזַמּוּ כֻּלָּן הֲרֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה הָאַחִין מְשַׁלְּמִין חֲצִי דְּמֵי הַשָּׂדֶה וְזֶה שֶׁנִּצְטָרֵף עִם כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי דָּמֶיהָ:

8

Different rules apply when an ox is declared to have a tendency to gore on the basis of the testimony of three groups of witnesses. If the first and the second pair of witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, all of the witnesses are released from liability. If all three sets of witnesses are disqualified, they are all obligated to pay for the entire damages even though half-damages are paid for an ordinary ox.

When does the above apply? When the witnesses are all motioning to each other, or they appear directly after each other, or they know the identity of the owner of the ox, but do not recognize the ox itself. If none of these factors are present, the first and the second group of witnesses are not liable, for they will say: "We came only to obligate him to pay half-damages. We did not know that subsequently another group would come and cause the ox to be deemed as a goring ox."

ח

שָׁלֹשׁ כִּתֵּי עֵדִים שֶׁנִּתְקַיֵּם בְּעֵדוּתָן שֶׁשּׁוֹר זֶה מוּעָד וְנִמְצֵאת כַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה זוֹמְמִין כֻּלָּן פְּטוּרִין. נִמְצְאוּ שְׁלָשְׁתָּן זוֹמְמִין כֻּלָּן חַיָּבִין לְשַׁלֵּם הַנֵּזֶק שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא תָּם מְשַׁלֵּם חֲצִי נֵזֶק. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיוּ כֻּלָּן רוֹמְזִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. אוֹ שֶׁבָּאוּ רְצוּפִין. אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ מַכִּירִין בַּעַל הַשּׁוֹר וְלֹא הִכִּירוּ הַשּׁוֹר. אֲבָל אִם אֵין שָׁם אַחַת מֵאֵלּוּ הֲרֵי כַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה פְּטוּרִין שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵן אוֹמְרִין לֹא בָּאנוּ אֶלָּא לְחַיְּבוֹ חֲצִי נֵזֶק וְלֹא יָדַעְנוּ שֶׁתָּבוֹא כַּת אַחֶרֶת וְיֵעָשֶׂה מוּעָד:

9

The following law applies when two people testified with regard to a "wayward and rebellious son" with regard to the first testimony and two others came afterwards and testified with regard to the second testimony which would cause him to be executed. If they are both disqualified through hazamah, the first group is lashed and not executed. The rationale is that they can say: "We came to have him lashed." The second group, however, is executed, because it is their testimony that causes him to be executed. If the second group consisted of four witnesses: Two said: "In our presence, he stole," and two said: "In our presence, he feasted," should they all be disqualified through hazamah, they are all executed.

If two witnesses testify that a person kidnapped a Jewish person and sold him, and they were disqualified through hazamah, they should be executed by strangulation. If two witnesses testified that a person kidnapped a fellow Jew and another two testified that he sold him, whether the witnesses who testified that he kidnapped or those who testified that he sold were disqualified through hazamah, either group which is disqualified through hazamah are executed. The rationale is that kidnapping is the beginning of the conviction and condemnation to death of the defendant.

If two witnesses testify that a person sold a fellow Jew and were disqualified through hazamah, but there were no witnesses that he kidnapped him, the witnesses are not liable. The rationale is that even if they were not disqualified through hazamah, the defendant would not have been executed, because he could have excused himself saying: "I sold my servant."

If witnesses who testify to the sale come after the disqualification of the witnesses who testified concerning the kidnapping, they are not executed. This applies even if we see that they are motioning to each other.

ט

וְכֵן שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּבֵן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה עֵדוּת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם אַחֲרֵיהֶם וְהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו עֵדוּת הָאַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁבָּהּ יֵהָרֵג וְהוּזַמּוּ שְׁתֵּיהֶן. כַּת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה לוֹקָה וְאֵינָהּ נֶהֱרֶגֶת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיְּכוֹלִים לוֹמַר לְהַלְקוֹתוֹ בָּאנוּ. אֲבָל כַּת הָאַחֲרוֹנָה נֶהֱרֶגֶת שֶׁעַל פִּיהֶן בִּלְבַד הוּא נֶהֱרָג. הָיְתָה הַכַּת הָאַחֲרוֹנָה אַרְבָּעָה שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים בְּפָנֵינוּ גָּנַב וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים בְּפָנֵינוּ אָכַל וְהוּזַמּוּ כֻּלָּן נֶהֱרָגִין. הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁזֶּה גָּנַב נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וּמְכָרוֹ וְהוּזַמּוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶחְנָקִין. הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁגְּנָבוֹ וְהֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים שֶׁמְּכָרוֹ. בֵּין שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ עֵדֵי גְּנֵבָה בֵּין שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ עֵדֵי מְכִירָה כָּל כַּת מֵהֶן שֶׁהוּזַמָּה נֶהֱרֶגֶת. שֶׁהַגְּנֵבָה הִיא תְּחִלַּת חִיּוּבוֹ שֶׁל זֶה לְמִיתָה. הֵעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁמְּכָרוֹ לְזֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְהוּזַמּוּ וְלֹא הָיוּ שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁגְּנָבוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין. שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ לֹא הוּזַמּוּ לֹא הָיָה זֶה נֶהֱרָג מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר עַבְדִּי מָכַרְתִּי. בָּאוּ עֵדֵי גְּנֵבָה אַחַר שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ עֵדֵי מְכִירָה אֲפִלּוּ רָאִינוּ אוֹתָן רוֹמְזִין זֶה אֶת זֶה אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין:

10

The following laws apply if a person spreads a libelous report about his wife, bringing witnesses that she committed adultery after she had been consecrated. If her father brought witnesses who disqualified the witnesses brought by the husband through hazamah, those witnesses are executed. If the husband brought witnesses who disqualified the witnesses brought by the father through hazamah, those witnesses are executed and are required to make financial restitution to the husband. They are executed, because the witnesses brought by the husband were condemned to death on the basis of their testimony. They must pay a fine, because the husband was held liable to pay a fine because of their testimony. Thus they are obligated to be executed because of this person and obligated financially, because of another person.

Similarly, when two people testify that a person engaged in relations with a consecrated maiden and they are disqualified through hazamah, they are executed and are not required to make a financial payment. If they said: "He engaged in relations with the daughter of so-and-so," and they are disqualified through hazamah, they are executed and are required to pay the fine to her father.

If witnesses testify: "So-and-so sodomized an ox," and they were disqualified by hazamah, they are executed, but not held liable financially. If they said: "the ox belonging to so-and-so," they are executed and required to pay the value of the ox to its owner. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

י

מוֹצִיא שֵׁם רַע עַל אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁזִּנְּתָה כְּשֶׁהִיא אֲרוּסָה וְהֵבִיא אָבִיהָ עֵדִים וֶהֱזִימוּם הֲרֵי עֵדֵי הַבַּעַל נֶהֱרָגִין. חָזַר הַבַּעַל וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים וְהֵזִימוּ עֵדֵי הָאָב. הֲרֵי עֵדֵי הָאָב נֶהֱרָגִין וּמְשַׁלְּמִין מָמוֹן לַבַּעַל. נֶהֱרָגִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעֵדֵי הַבַּעַל נִגְמַר דִּינָם לַהֲרִיגָה בְּעֵדוּתָן וּמְשַׁלְּמִין קְנָס מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּין הַבַּעַל לְשַׁלֵּם קְנָס בְּעֵדוּתָן וְנִמְצְאוּ חַיָּבִין נְפָשׁוֹת לָזֶה וּמָמוֹן לָזֶה. וְכֵן שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל זֶה שֶׁבָּא עַל נַעֲרָה הַמְאֹרָסָה וְהוּזְמוּ נֶהֱרָגִין וְאֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין. בָּא עַל בִּתּוֹ שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי וְהוּזַמּוּ נֶהֱרָגִין וּמְשַׁלְּמִין הַקְּנָס לְאָבִיהָ. פְּלוֹנִי רָבַע הַשּׁוֹר וְהוּזַמּוּ נִסְקָלִין וְאֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין. שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי נִסְקָלִין וּמְשַׁלְּמִין דְּמֵי הַשּׁוֹר לְבַעַל הַשּׁוֹר. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

Edut - Chapter 22

1

The following rules apply when two groups of witnesses contradict each other. If one witness from one group came together with one witness from the other group and they both delivered testimony concerning another matter, the testimony is of no consequence. For certainly one of them lied, but we do not know which one.

If one of these groups comes alone and gives testimony and the other group comes alone and gives testimony regarding another matter, we accept the testimony of both groups individually.

א

שְׁתֵּי כִּתֵּי עֵדִים הַמַּכְחִישׁוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ שֶׁבָּא עֵד אֶחָד מִכַּת זוֹ וְעֵד אֶחָד מִכַּת זוֹ וְהֵעִידוּ בְּעֵדוּת אַחֶרֶת אֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת. שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּוַדַּאי אֶחָד מֵהֶן שֶׁקֶר וְאֵין יָדוּעַ מִי הוּא מִשְּׁנֵיהֶן. בָּאָה כַּת זוֹ בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ וְהֵעִידָה עֵדוּת וּבָאָה כַּת זוֹ וְהֵעִידָה עֵדוּת אַחֶרֶת בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ מְקַבְּלִין כָּל אַחַת מֵהֶן בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ:

2

Reuven produced two promissory notes against Shimon: one for a maneh and one for 200 zuz. Shimon denied being obligated for either of the promissory notes. The witnesses to one of the promissory notes were one of the groups whose testimonies contradicted each other and the witnesses to the other were the second group. Shimon is required to pay only a maneh, for the bearer of the promissory note has the position of lesser strength. He must take an oath concerning the remainder.

It appears to me that he must take this oath concerning the remainder while holding a sacred article, as is required of a person who admits a portion of the claim lodged against him. For there are two acceptable witnesses who testify concerning a portion of the money which he denied owing entirely. And the statements of his own mouth should not have greater legal power than the testimony of witnesses as we explained.

ב

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהוֹצִיא עַל שִׁמְעוֹן שְׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת אֶחָד בְּמָנֶה וְאֶחָד בְּמָאתַיִם וְכָפַר שִׁמְעוֹן בִּשְׁנֵי הַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְעֵדֵי שְׁטָר זֶה כַּת אַחַת מֵאוֹתָן הַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁהִכְחִישׁוּ זוֹ אֶת זוֹ. וְעֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר הַשֵּׁנִי הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה. הֲרֵי שִׁמְעוֹן מְשַׁלֵּם מָנֶה שֶׁיַּד בַּעַל הַשְּׁטָר עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה וְיִשָּׁבַע עַל הַשְּׁאָר. יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁשְּׁבוּעָה זוֹ שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע עַל הַשְּׁאָר בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ כְּדִין מוֹדֶה בְּמִקְצָת. שֶׁהֲרֵי עָלָיו שְׁנֵי עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים מְעִידִין בְּמִקְצָת הַמָּמוֹן שֶׁכָּפַר בְּכֻלּוֹ. וְלֹא תְּהֵא הוֹדָאַת פִּיו גְּדוֹלָה מֵהַעֲדָאַת עֵדִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

3

Reuven sued Levi, producing a promissory note signed by one of these groups of witnesses. Shimon also sued Levi and produced a promissory note signed by the other group. Although Levi denies both debts, both Reuven and Shimon are given the option of taking an oath and collecting what they claim. The rationale is that certainly one of them has a viable claim against him. The oath required is a Rabbinic institution as is required of a storekeeper who takes an oath to collect a claim supported by his ledger.

ג

הוֹצִיא רְאוּבֵן שְׁטָר עַל לֵוִי וְעֵדָיו כַּת אַחַת מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן. וְהוֹצִיא שִׁמְעוֹן שְׁטָר שֵׁנִי עַל לֵוִי וְעֵדָיו הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה. וְלֵוִי כּוֹפֵר בִּשְׁנֵיהֶן. הֲרֵי רְאוּבֵן נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל וְשִׁמְעוֹן נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי אֶחָד מֵהֶן יֵשׁ לוֹ אֶצְלוֹ. וּשְׁבוּעָה זוֹ בְּתַקָּנַת חֲכָמִים כְּדִין חֶנְוָנִי עַל פִּנְקָסוֹ:

4

Reuven sued Shimon producing a promissory note signed by one of these groups of witnesses and sued Levi, producing a promissory note signed by the other group. If both defendants deny the debts, we follow the principle: 'A person who seeks to expropriate money from a colleague must prove his claim.' Since Reuven cannot validate either of these legal documents, both the promissory notes are like shards. Both of the defendants are required to take merely a sh'vuat heset and they are released of obligation.

When does the above apply? When the two groups of witnesses come to testify at the same time. Otherwise, whenever a person produces a legal document containing testimony of one of these two groups, he may expropriate property based upon it. Afterwards, if either he or another person produce a legal document with testimony from the other group, it can be used to expropriate property whether from the first borrower or from any other person. The rationale is that it is as if each of the two groups came alone and testified.

ד

הוֹצִיא רְאוּבֵן שְׁטָר עַל שִׁמְעוֹן וְעֵדָיו כַּת אַחַת מֵהֶן וְהוֹצִיא שְׁטָר שֵׁנִי עַל לֵוִי וְעֵדָיו הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כּוֹפֵר בּוֹ הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין רְאוּבֵן יָכוֹל לְקַיֵּם אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת הֲרֵי כָּל שְׁטָר מֵהֶן כְּחֶרֶס וּשְׁנֵי הַנִּטְעָנִין נִשְׁבָּעִין הֶסֵּת וְנִפְטָרִין. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁבָּאוּ שְׁתֵּי הַכִּתּוֹת לְהָעִיד כְּאַחַת. אֲבָל כָּל הַמּוֹצִיא שְׁטָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ עֵדוּת כַּת אַחַת מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה בּוֹ. וְאִם הוֹצִיא אַחַר כָּךְ בֵּין הוּא בֵּין אַחֵר שְׁטָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ עֵדוּת הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה בּוֹ בֵּין מִמַּלְוֶה הָרִאשׁוֹן בֵּין מֵאַחֵר. שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל כַּת מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן בָּאָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ וְהֵעִידָה:

5

The following rules apply when a person brings witnesses, their testimony is investigated, they were disqualified through hazamah, and then he brought other witnesses concerning the same claim and they were also disqualified through hazamah. Even if he brings 100 groups who are disqualified, if afterwards, he brings other witnesses regarding that same claim and the testimony of these witnesses is found to be accurate, the case is adjudicated on this basis. Even though the plaintiff can be presumed to bring lying witnesses, we do not operate under the presumption that these witnesses are lying.

When, by contrast, there is a legal document concerning which a protest has been sustained, i.e., two witnesses came and said that the plaintiff told them to forge this legal document, we never use that legal document to expropriate property even if the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses is validated.

It appears to me that if the witnesses to the legal document came and testified concerning their signature, the legal document may be used to expropriate money.

ה

מִי שֶׁהֵבִיא עֵדִים וְנֶחְקְרָה עֵדוּתָן וְהוּזַמּוּ וְחָזַר וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים אֲחֵרִים בְּאוֹתָהּ הַטַּעֲנָה עַצְמָהּ וְהוּזַמּוּ אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה כַּת. וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֵבִיא עֵדִים אֲחֵרִים בְּאוֹתָהּ הַטַּעֲנָה עַצְמָהּ וְנִמְצֵאת עֵדוּת אֵלּוּ הָאַחֲרוֹנִים מְכֻוֶּנֶת. דָּנִין עַל פִּיהֶן. שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֻחְזַק זֶה שֶׁטָּעַן טַעֲנָה זוֹ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים שַׁקְרָנִים הֲרֵי לֹא הֻחְזְקוּ אֵלּוּ הָעֵדִים הָאַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁהֵן מְשַׁקְּרִין. אֲבָל שְׁטָר שֶׁקָּרָא עָלָיו עַרְעָר וְהוּא שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְיֹאמְרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ שָׁאַל לְזַיֵּף לוֹ שְׁטָר זֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּתְקַיֵּם הַשְּׁטָר מֵחוֹתְמָיו אֵין גּוֹבִין בּוֹ לְעוֹלָם. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאִם בָּאוּ עֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר וְהֵעִידוּ הֵן בְּעַצְמָן עַל כְּתַב יָדָן גּוֹבִין בּוֹ: סְלִיקוּ לְהוּ הִלְכוֹת עֵדוּת בְּסַ''ד

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah