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Daily Mitzvah

Day 324: Negative Commandment 288

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Negative Commandment 288 (Digest)
Punishing a Defendant Based on the Testimony of a Single Witness

"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity or for any sin"Deuteronomy 19:15.

It is forbidden for the courts to execute punishments or expropriate money based on the testimony provided by a single witness—even if that witness is completely trustworthy.

Though courts cannot punish or expropriate money based on the testimony of one witness, they can obligate the defendant to declare his innocence under oath based on such testimony.

Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
Our Sages greatly extolled the virtue of charity, declaring it equal to all the other mitzvot together; throughout the Jerusalem Talmud, charity is called simply "The Mitzvah"... Because in all other mitzvot, only one faculty of the vital soul is invested in the action, and only while the mitzvah is being performed. In the case of charity, however, which one gives from the proceeds of the toil of his hands, all the energy of his vital soul is invested in the effort of his labor, or in any other occupation by which he earned this money. Thus, when he gives to charity this money, his entire vital soul ascends to G d with this action. Also, even one who does not earn his livelihood from his labors, nevertheless, since he could have purchased with this money his life's sustenance, he is actually giving his soul’s life to G d...
  –Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Tanya ch. 37)
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