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