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Daily Mitzvah

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
The number seven represents the cycle of creation; the number eight represents the "circumference" -- that which lies beyond the perimeter of time and space. This is why the Divine Presence came to dwell in the Israelite camp on the eighth day. This is also alluded to in the saying of our sages (Talmud, Erchin 13b) that "The lyre of Moshiach has eight strings"
  –Keli Yakar
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