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Daily Mitzvah

Day 326: Negative Commandment 287

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Negative Commandment 287 (Digest)
Relatives' Testimony

"Fathers shall not be put to death on account of their children; neither shall children be put to death on account of their fathers"Deuteronomy 24:16.

A judge may not accept testimony from a litigant's close relative—whether the testimony is in support of the litigant or against him.

This law applies to all cases – capital and monetary – and all close relatives. The verse refers specifically to a capital case and the testimony of a father to demonstrate the extent of this mitzvah. For the Torah even forbids accepting the testimony of a father, who presumably loves his child dearly, against his child (or vice versa) in a capital case—though we'd presume that such testimony is eminently credible.

This mitzvah is a supra-rational decree from Above.

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
When a person is uprooted from his habitual environment... there come to light certain traits of his inner character as they are in their purity, undistorted by the expectations of society. Often, these traits reveal the hidden good in this person, of which perhaps even he himself had been unaware, because they were hidden under the layers of “manners” and social conventions. Fortunate is the person who does not allow these traits to disappear when he subsequently settles down and finds tranquility.
  –From a 1944 letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, recalling his days as a refugee in Vichy France
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