Introduction to Hilchos Chovel uMazzik

They contain one positive mitzvah: the law [requiring payment when] a person injures a colleague or damages his property.

This mitzvah is explained in the chapters [that follow].

הלכות חובל ומזיק - הקדמה מצות עשה אחת. והוא דין חובל בחבירו או מזיק ממונו: וביאור מצוה זו בפרקים אלו:

1

When a person injures a colleague, he is liable to compensate him in five ways: the damages, his pain, his medical treatment, his loss of employment and the embarrassment he suffered. All these five assessments must be paid from the highest quality of property that he owns, as is the law with regard to payment for damages.

א

הַחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים וְאֵלּוּ הֵם. נֵזֶק וְצַעַר וְרִפּוּי וְשֶׁבֶת וּבשֶׁת. וַחֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ כֻּלָּן מִשְׁתַּלְּמִים מִן הַיָּפֶה שֶׁבִּנְכָסָיו כְּדִין כָּל הַמַּזִּיקִין:

2

What is meant by "the damages"? If a person cuts off the hand or the foot of a colleague, we theoretically consider the injured colleague as a servant being sold in the market place and evaluate his value before the injury and his value afterwards. The person who caused the injury must pay the depreciation in value.

This is alluded to in Exodus 21:24: "An eye for an eye." The oral tradition interprets תחת, translated as "for," as an indication that the verse requires financial recompense.

ב

נֵזֶק כֵּיצַד. שֶׁאִם קָטַע יַד חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ רַגְלוֹ רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא עֶבֶד נִמְכָּר בַּשּׁוּק כַּמָּה הָיָה יָפֶה [אָז] וְכַמָּה הוּא יָפֶה עַתָּה וּמְשַׁלֵּם הַפְּחָת שֶׁהִפְחִית מִדָּמָיו. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא כד) (ויקרא כד כ) "עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר תַּחַת לְשַׁלֵּם מָמוֹן הוּא:

3

The Torah's statement Leviticus 24:20: "Just as he caused an injury to his fellowman, so too, an injury should be caused to him," should not be interpreted in a literal sense. It does not mean that the person who caused the injury should actually be subjected to a similar physical punishment. Instead, the intent is that he deserves to lose a limb or to be injured in the same manner as his colleague was, and therefore he should make financial restitution to him.

This interpretation is supported by the verse, Numbers 35:31: "Do not accept a ransom for the soul of the murderer." Implied is that no ransom may be paid for a murderer alone, but a ransom may be paid for causing a loss of limb or other injuries.

ג

זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (ויקרא כד כ) "כַּאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מוּם בָּאָדָם כֵּן יִנָּתֶן בּוֹ" אֵינוֹ לַחֲבל בָּזֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁחָבַל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי לְחַסְּרוֹ אֵיבָר אוֹ לַחֲבל בּוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וּלְפִיכָךְ מְשַׁלֵּם נִזְקוֹ. וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (במדבר לה לא) "וְלֹא תִקְחוּ כֹפֶר לְנֶפֶשׁ רֹצֵחַ" לְרוֹצֵחַ בִּלְבַד הוּא שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ כֹּפֶר אֲבָל לְחֶסְרוֹן אֵיבָרִים אוֹ לְחַבָּלוֹת יֵשׁ בּוֹ כֹּפֶר:

4

Thus, the statement Deuteronomy 25:12 with regard to a person who injures a colleague and causes him damage, "Do not have compassion," means "Do not have compassion in evaluating the amount he is required to pay." You should not say, "He is poor and did not intentionally mean to injure him; therefore, I will have mercy upon him. For this reason, it is written: "Do not have compassion."

ד

וְכֵן זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ וּמַזִּיקוֹ (דברים כה יב) "לֹא תָחוֹס עֵינֶךָ" שֶׁלֹּא תָּחוּס בְּתַשְׁלוּמִין שֶׁמָּא תֹּאמַר עָנִי הוּא זֶה וְשֶׁלֹּא בְּכַוָּנָה חָבַל בּוֹ אֲרַחֲמֶנּוּ לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר לֹא תָחוֹס עֵינֶךָ:

5

How do we know that the intent of the Torah's statement with regard to the loss of a limb, "An eye for an eye," is financial restitution? That same verse continues "a blow for a blow." And with regard to the penalty for a giving a colleague a blow, it is explicitly stated Exodus 21:18-19: "When a man strikes his colleague with a stone or a fist... he should pay for his being idled and for his medical expenses." Thus, we learn that the word תחת mentioned with regard to a blow indicates the necessity for financial restitution, and so one can conclude that the meaning of the same word with regard to an eye or another limb is also financial restitution.

ה

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּאֵיבָרִים (שמות כא כד) (ויקרא כד כ) "עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן" תַּשְׁלוּמִין הוּא. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ (שמות כא כה) "חַבּוּרָה תַּחַת חַבּוּרָה" וּבְפֵרוּשׁ נֶאֱמַר (שמות כא יח) "וְכִי יַכֶּה אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ בְּאֶבֶן אוֹ בְּאֶגְרוֹף"??? וְגוֹ' (שמות כא יט) "רַק שִׁבְתּוֹ יִתֵּן וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא". הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁתַּחַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּחַבּוּרָה תַּשְׁלוּמִין. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְתַחַת הָאָמוּר בְּעַיִן וּבִשְׁאָר אֵיבָרִים:

6

Although these interpretations are obvious from the study of the Written Law, and they are explicitly mentioned in the Oral Tradition transmitted by Moses from Mount Sinai, they are all regarded as halachot from Moses. This is what our ancestors saw in the court of Joshua and in the court of Samuel of Ramah, and in every single Jewish court that has functioned from the days of Moses our teacher until the present age.

ו

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ נִרְאִים מֵעִנְיַן תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב וְכֻלָּן מְפֹרָשִׁין הֵן מִפִּי משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ מַהֵר סִינַי. כֻּלָּן הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה הֵן בְּיָדֵינוּ וְכָזֶה רָאוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ דָּנִין בְּבֵית דִּינוֹ שֶׁל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וּבְבֵית דִּינוֹ שֶׁל שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתִי וּבְכָל בֵּית דִּין וּבֵית דִּין שֶׁעָמְדוּ מִימוֹת משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ וְעַד עַכְשָׁו:

7

What is the source that teaches that a person who injures a colleague must pay independently for the pain that he caused? With regard to a maiden who has been raped Deuteronomy 22:29 states that payment is imposed: "because he oppressed her." the same law applies to anyone who causes a colleague bodily pain. He is required to give him financial recompense for the pain he caused.

ז

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁמַּזִּיק בַּחֲבֵרוֹ חַיָּב בְּצַעַר בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר בְּאוֹנֵס (דברים כב כט) "תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנָּהּ". וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל הַמְצַעֵר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם דְּמֵי הַצַּעַר:

8

What is the source that teaches that he is liable for the victim's unemployment expenses and medical expenses independently? It is written Exodus 21:19: "He should pay for his being idled and for his medical expenses."

ח

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בְּשֶׁבֶת בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְרִפּוּי בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא יט) "רַק שִׁבְתּוֹ יִתֵּן וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא":

9

What is the source that teaches that he is liable for the embarrassment suffered by the victim independently? Deuteronomy 25:11-12 states: "... And she extends her hand, grabbing his private parts. You must cut off her hand." The same law applies to anyone who embarrasses another person.

ט

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בְּבשֶׁת בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר (דברים כה יא) "וְשָׁלְחָה יָדָהּ וְהֶחֱזִיקָה בִּמְבֻשָׁיו" (דברים כה יב) "וְקַצֹּתָה אֶת כַּפָּהּ" בִּכְלַל דִּין זֶה כָּל הַמְבַיֵּשׁ:

10

A person who causes embarrassment is not liable unless he acts intentionally, as implied by the phrase: "And she extends her hand." If, by contrast, a person embarrassed a colleague without intent, he is not liable. Therefore, if a person who was sleeping or the like embarrassed a colleague, he is not liable.

י

הַמְבַיֵּשׁ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַל הַבּשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מִתְכַּוֵּן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה יא) "וְשָׁלְחָה יָדָהּ". אֲבָל הַמְבַיֵּשׁ חֲבֵרוֹ בְּלֹא כַּוָּנָה פָּטוּר. לְפִיכָךְ יָשֵׁן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ שֶׁבִּיֵּשׁ פָּטוּר:

11

A man is considered mu'ad at all times - whether acting intentionally or unintentionally, whether asleep or awake or intoxicated. If he injures a colleague or damages a colleague's property, he must always reimburse him from his choicest property.

When is a person who causes damage while asleep required to make restitution? When they both went to sleep at the same time, and one turned over and injured his colleague or tore his garment. If, however, a person was sleeping and a colleague came and lay down next to him, only the one who lay down afterwards is considered mu'ad. If the person sleeping injures the one who came afterwards, he is not liable.

Similarly, if a person places a utensil next to a person who is sleeping, and the one who is sleeping breaks it, he is not liable. For the one who placed the article down was the one who was mu'ad and who acted with negligence.

יא

אָדָם מוּעָד לְעוֹלָם בֵּין שׁוֹגֵג בֵּין מֵזִיד בֵּין עֵר בֵּין יָשֵׁן בֵּין שִׁכּוֹר אִם חָבַל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ הִזִּיק מָמוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם מִן הַיָּפֶה שֶׁבִּנְכָסָיו. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁהַיָּשֵׁן חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם בִּשְׁנַיִם שֶׁיָּשְׁנוּ כְּאֶחָד וְנִתְהַפֵּךְ אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְהִזִּיק אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ קָרַע בִּגְדוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה אֶחָד יָשֵׁן וּבָא אַחֵר וְשָׁכַב בְּצִדּוֹ. זֶה שֶׁבָּא בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה הוּא הַמּוּעָד וְאִם הִזִּיקוֹ הַיָּשֵׁן פָּטוּר. וְכֵן אִם הִנִּיחַ כְּלִי בְּצַד הַיָּשֵׁן וּשְׁבָרוֹ פָּטוּר שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁהִנִּיחוֹ הוּא הַמּוּעָד שֶׁפָּשַׁע:

12

If a person fell from a roof because of an ordinary wind and caused damage, he is liable for four assessments, but is not liable for the embarrassment he caused. If he fell because of an exceptional wind, he is liable only for the injury, but not for the other four assessments. If, however, he turned over so that he would fall on a person to soften the blow he would receive, he is liable even for the embarrassment he caused. For whenever a person intentionally causes injury, he is liable for the embarrassment he caused, even though he did not have the intent of embarrassing the other person.

יב

מִי שֶׁנָּפַל מִן הַגַּג בְּרוּחַ מְצוּיָה וְהִזִּיק חַיָּב בְּאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים וּפָטוּר מִן הַבּשֶׁת. נָפַל בְּרוּחַ שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְצוּיָה חַיָּב בְּנֵזֶק בִּלְבַד וּפָטוּר מֵאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים. וְאִם נִתְהַפֵּךְ חַיָּב בַּכּל אַף בְּבשֶׁת שֶׁכָּל הַמִּתְכַּוֵּן לְהַזִּיק אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן לְבַיֵּשׁ חַיָּב בְּבשֶׁת:

13

When two people injure another person at the same time, they are both liable and they divide the assessment between themselves. If one of them acted intentionally and the other acted unintentionally, the one who acted unintentionally is not liable for the embarrassment that was caused.

יג

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁחָבְלוּ בְּאֶחָד כְּאֶחָד שְׁנֵיהֶם חַיָּבִין וּמְשַׁלְּשִׁין בֵּינֵיהֶן. הָיָה אֶחָד מִתְכַּוֵּן וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְכַּוֵּן פָּטוּר מִן הַבּשֶׁת:

14

If a person intended to embarrass a minor and instead embarrassed an adult, he is required to pay the adult what he would pay for embarrassing a minor.

If a person intended to embarrass a servant and instead embarrassed a free man, he is required to pay the free man what he would pay for embarrassing a servant.

יד

הַמִּתְכַּוֵּן לְבַיֵּשׁ אֶת הַקָּטָן וּבִיֵּשׁ אֶת הַגָּדוֹל נוֹתֵן לַגָּדוֹל דְּמֵי בָּשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁל קָטָן. נִתְכַּוֵּן לְבַיֵּשׁ הָעֶבֶד וּבִיֵּשׁ אֶת בֶּן חוֹרִין נוֹתֵן לְבֶן חוֹרִין דְּמֵי בָּשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁל עֶבֶד:

15

If a stone was placed in a person's bosom - regardless of whether he had never known about it, or he had known about it and forgotten it - and when he stood up, the stone fell and caused damage, he is liable only for the injury, but not for the other four assessments.

Similarly, if he intended to throw a stone two cubits, and he throw it four cubits and it caused an injury, or if he caused an injury while sleeping, he is liable only for the injury, but not for the other four assessments.

טו

הָיְתָה לוֹ אֶבֶן מֻנַּחַת בְּחֵיקוֹ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הִכִּיר בָּהּ מֵעוֹלָם בֵּין שֶׁהִכִּיר בָּהּ וּשְׁכָחָהּ וְעָמַד וְנָפְלָה וְהִזִּיקָה חַיָּב בְּנֵזֶק בִּלְבַד וּפָטוּר מֵאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים. וְכֵן אִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לִזְרֹק שְׁתַּיִם וְזָרַק אַרְבַּע וְהִזִּיק אוֹ שֶׁהִזִּיק כְּשֶׁהוּא יָשֵׁן חַיָּב בְּנֵזֶק וּפָטוּר מֵאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים:

16

Whenever a person injures a colleague, he is liable for the five assessments. Even if a person enters a colleague's domain without permission and the owner injures him, the owner is liable. For he has permission to remove the intruder from his domain, but he does not have permission to injure him.

If, however, the person who entered bumps into the owner and is injured, the owner is not liable. If the owner bumps into him and is injured, the person who entered is liable, for he entered without permission.

If they both had permission to be in that domain, or neither had permission to be in that domain, and one bumps into the other and is injured, neither is liable.

טז

הַמַּזִּיק אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּכַוָּנָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם חַיָּב בַּחֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִכְנַס לִרְשׁוּת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת וְהִזִּיקוֹ בַּעַל הַבַּיִת חַיָּב שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ רְשׁוּת לְהוֹצִיאוֹ וְאֵין לוֹ רְשׁוּת לְהַזִּיקוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הֻזַּק זֶה שֶׁנִּכְנַס בְּבַעַל הַבַּיִת הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַבַּיִת פָּטוּר. וְאִם הֻזַּק בּוֹ בַּעַל הַבַּיִת חַיָּב מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּכְנַס שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת. הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בִּרְשׁוּת אוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת וְהֻזְּקוּ זֶה בָּזֶה שְׁנֵיהֶם פְּטוּרִין:

17

In all of the situations to be described, the person who caused the injury is liable for four assessments, but not for the embarrassment he caused: He was chopping wood in the public domain, and a piece of wood took flight and caused injury in the private domain. He was chopping wood in a private domain and caused injury in a public domain. He was chopping wood in a private domain and caused injury in another private domain. A person entered a carpenter's store - whether with permission or without permission - and a block of wood was propelled and hit him in the face.

יז

הַמְבַקֵּעַ עֵצִים בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים וּפָרַח עֵץ מֵהֶן וְהִזִּיק בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד. אוֹ שֶׁבִּקֵּעַ בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד וְהִזִּיק בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. אוֹ שֶׁבִּקֵּעַ בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד וְהִזִּיק בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד אַחֵר. אוֹ שֶׁנִּכְנַס לַחֲנוּתוֹ שֶׁל נַגָּר בֵּין בִּרְשׁוּת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת וְנִתְּזָה בְּקַעַת וְטָפְחָה עַל פָּנָיו. בְּכָל אֵלּוּ חַיָּב בְּאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים וּפָטוּר מִן הַבֹּשֶׁת:

18

Just as an evaluation is made with regard to death, so too, an evaluation is made with regard to damages.

What is implied? If he strikes a colleague with a small stone that is not large enough to cause injury, or a small sliver of wood and causes an injury that this article is not ordinarily capable of causing, he is not liable. This concept is alluded to by Exodus 21:18, which speaks of "a man strik(ing) a colleague with a stone or a fist" - i.e., an entity that is capable of causing injury. He is, however, liable for the embarrassment that he caused. [For even if he merely spat on his colleague's person, he is liable for the embarrassment that he caused.

Accordingly, the witnesses have to know the article that caused the injury. This article should be brought to the court, and an evaluation is made concerning it, and a reckoning.

If the article that caused the injury was lost and the person who caused the injury claims: "It was not sufficient to cause the injury. The injury occurred because of forces beyond my control," and the person who was injured claims: "It was sufficient to cause the injury," the person who was injured should support his claim with an oath and collect his due, as will be explained.

יח

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאוֹמְדִין לְמִיתָה כָּךְ אוֹמְדִין לִנְזָקִין. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהִכָּה חֲבֵרוֹ בִּצְרוֹר קָטָן שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ כְּדֵי לְהַזִּיק אוֹ בְּקֵיסָם שֶׁל עֵץ קָטָן וְחָבַל בּוֹ חַבָּלָה שֶׁאֵין חֵפֶץ זֶה רָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא יח) "בְּאֶבֶן אוֹ בְאֶגְרֹף" דָּבָר הָרָאוּי לְהַזִּיק. אֲבָל חַיָּב הוּא בְּבֹשֶׁת בִּלְבַד. אֲפִלּוּ רָקַק בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ חַיָּב בְּבשֶׁת. לְפִיכָךְ צְרִיכִין הָעֵדִים לֵידַע בְּמָה הִזִּיק וּמְבִיאִין הַחֵפֶץ שֶׁהִזִּיק בּוֹ לְבֵית דִּין עַד שֶׁאוֹמְדִין אוֹתוֹ וְדָנִין עָלָיו. וְאִם אָבַד הַחֵפֶץ וְאָמַר הַחוֹבֵל לֹא הָיָה בּוֹ כְּדֵי לְהַזִּיק וּכְמוֹ אָנוּס אֲנִי. וְהַנֶּחְבָּל אוֹמֵר הָיָה בּוֹ כְּדֵי לְהַזִּיק. יִשָּׁבַע הַנֶּחְבָּל וְיִטּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

19

A metal object is never evaluated to see whether it can cause injury. Instead, we assume that it can, for even a small needle is capable of killing and surely of causing injury.

When a person throws a stone, and afterwards another person extends his head out from a window and is struck by it, the one who threw the stone is not liable at all. This is derived from Deuteronomy 19:5, which speaks of the head of an axe coming loose and "strik(ing) a colleague." This excludes one who causes himself to be stricken.

יט

הַבַּרְזֶל אֵין לוֹ אֹמֶד אֲפִלּוּ מַחַט קְטַנָּה רְאוּיָה הִיא לְהָמִית וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לְהַזִּיק. הַזּוֹרֵק אֶבֶן וּלְאַחַר שֶׁיָּצָא מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ הוֹצִיא הַלָּה אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ מִן הַחַלּוֹן וְקִבְּלָהּ פָּטוּר מִכְּלוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט ה) "וּמָצָא אֶת רֵעֵהוּ" פְּרָט לְמַמְצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ: