1

It is forbidden to strike your fellow Jew, and if you do strike him you are transgressing a Divine negative command, as it is said, "If the wicked man deserves to be beaten etc., he should be given forty stripes, he shall not exceed, lest he exceed."1 If the Torah is concerned not to strike a wicked person more than prescribed for his evil, all the more so does this apply to the striking of the righteous. Whoever raises his hand against another to strike him, even if he does not actually strike him, is called a rasha (wicked person) as it is said, "And he said to the rasha: 'Why will you strike your neighbor?'"2 It is not said, "Why have you struck," but "Why will you strike;" although he did not actually strike him, he is called a rasha. Whoever strikes his fellow Jew has been excommunicated by the early Sages. He can not be counted as one of a quorum of ten required for the performance of sacred rituals, until Beis Din releases him from excommunication, upon his acceptance to abide by their decisions.3 However, if someone strikes you or a fellow Jew, and you are unable to save yourself or your fellow Jew from the attacker unless you strike him, you are permitted to strike him.

א

אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהַכּוֹת אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאִם הִכָּהוּ, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְהָיָה אִם בִּן הַכּוֹת הָרָשָׁע וְגוֹ', אַרְבָּעִים יַכֶּנּוּ לֹא יֹסִיף פֶּן יֹסִיף וְגוֹ', אִם הִקְפִּידָה הַתּוֹרָה בְּהַכָּאַת הָרָשָׁע שֶׁלֹּא לְהַכּוֹתוֹ יוֹתֵר עַל רִשְׁעוֹ, קַל וָחֹמֶר בְּהַכָּאַת צַדִּיק. וְכָל הַמֵּרִים יַד עַל חֲבֵרוֹ לְהַכּוֹתוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִכָּהוּ, נִקְרָא רָשָׁע, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר, וַיֹּאמֶר לָרָשָׁע לָמָּה תַכֶּה רֵעֶךָ, לָמָּה הִכִּיתָ לֹא נֶאֱמַר, אֶלָּא לָמָּה תַכֶּה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הִכָּהוּ, נִקְרָא רָשָׁע. וְכָל מִי שֶׁהִכָּה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, הֲרֵי הוּא מָחֳרָם בְּחֵרֶם הַקַּדְמוֹנִים, וְאֵין לְצָרְפוֹ לְמִנְיַן עֲשָׂרָה לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדֻשָּׁה, עַד שֶׁיַתִּירוּ לוֹ בֵּית דִּין אֶת הַחֵרֶם, כְּשֶׁמְּקַבֵּל עָלָיו לִשְׁמֹעַ דִּינָם. וְאִם אֶחַד מַכֶּה אוֹתוֹ אוֹ לְיִשְֹרָאֵל אַחֵר וְאִ אֶפְשָׁר לְהַצִיל אֶת עַצְמוֹ אוֹ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ מִיַד מַכֵּהוּ אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי שֶׁיַכֶּה אוֹתוֹ, מֻתָּר לְהַכּוֹתוֹ.

2

Even if your servant disobeys you, you are forbidden to strike him. However, you are permitted to strike your young children, or [even] an orphan whom you are raising in your home, in order to admonish them and guide them on the proper way, as this is for their ultimate benefit.

ב

אֲפִלּוּ מְשָׁרְתוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ שׁוֹמֵעַ בְּקוֹלוֹ, אָסוּר לְהַכּוֹתוֹ. אֲבָל מֻתָּר לְהַכּוֹת בָּנָיו הַקְּטַנִּים אוֹ יָתוֹם שֶׁהוּא מְגַדֵּל בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ, כְּדֵי לְהַדְרִיכָם בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה, שֶׁזּוֹהִי טוֹבָתָם.

3

You must be careful not to throw pieces of broken glass and the like in any place where they may cause harm to anyone.

ג

צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לְהַשְלִיךְ שִׁבְרֵי כְּלֵי זְכוּכִית וְכַדּוֹמֶה בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁיּוּכְלוּ לְהַזִּיק.

4

If your neighbor suffers from a headache, which may be aggravated by the noise of hammering, you are forbidden to pound grits even in your own house, or anything similar to them, should the sound of their pounding carry to your neighbor's house and cause him harm.4

ד

אִם יֵשׁ לִשְׁכֵנוֹ חֳלִי הָרֹאשׁ, רַחֲמָנָא לִצְּלָן, וְקוֹל הַהַכָּאָה מַזִּיק לוֹ, לֹא יכְתּוֹשׁ אֲפִלּוּ בְבֵיתוֹ רִיפוֹת וְכַיוֹצֵא בָהֶן, דְּבָרִים שֶׁקּוֹל הַכָּאָתָם מַגִּיעַ לְבֵית שְׁכֵנוֹ וּמַזִּיק לוֹ.

5

There are many more things that are forbidden because they cause harm to your neighbors, or to the public. The general principle is that it is forbidden to do anything, even on your own premises, and especially on a public domain, that may cause damage to your neighbor or to passers by in a public domain, unless it is generally accepted that whoever wishes to do this activity may do so. For in such case, it is as if all the townspeople sanctioned this activity, so that each of them has the privilege to do so whenever he needs to; he, or his children (etc.).

ה

יֵשׁ עוֹד הַרְבֵּה דְבָרִים בְּעִנְיַן נִזְקֵי שְׁכֵנִים אוֹ לִבְנֵי רְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. וְהַכְּלָל הוּא, שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת שׁוּם דָּבָר אֲפִלּוּ בִרְשׁוּתוֹ, וּמִכָּל שֶׁכֵּן בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, דָּבָר שֶׁיָכוֹל לְהַגִּיעַ מִמֶּנוּ אֵיזֶה הֶזֵּק לִשְׁכֵנוֹ אוֹ לְעוֹבְרִים בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. אִם לֹא בְדָבָר שֶׁפָּשַט הַמִּנְהָג שֶעוֹשֶׂה כֵּן כָּל מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה, שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה, כְּאִלּוּ מָחֲלוּ כָּל אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר, כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוּכַל כָּל אֶחָד לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן כְּשֶׁיִצְטָרֵךְ לָזֶה, הוּא אוֹ בָנָיו אַחֲרָיו.

6

If you frighten someone, such as by suddenly screaming behind him, or by appearing suddenly before him in the dark, or anything similar, you will be answerable to the Heavenly court.5

ו

הַמַּבְעִית אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, כְּגוֹן שֶׁצָּעַק עָלָיו מֵאֲחֲרָיו אוֹ שֶׁנִּרְאָה לוֹ בַּאֲפֵלָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה, חַיָב בְּדִינֵי שָׁמָיִם.

7

If you injure your neighbor, although you paid the injured person all that you owe him for his injury; also a thief or a robber, although he had returned the article, or made restitution for it, nevertheless, there cannot be atonement until you seek forgiveness from the injured, or from the victim for the pain you caused them. They, for their part, should forgive and not be harsh in refusing.

ז

הַחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתַן אֶת הַמָּמוֹן לְנֶּחְבָּל מָה שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵב לוֹ עֲבוּר הַחֲבָלָה, וְכֵן גַנָּב אוֹ גַזְלָן, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶחֱזִירוּ אוֹ שִׁלְּמוּ, מִכָּל מָקוֹם אֵין מִתְכַּפֵּר לָהֶם עַד שֶׁיְבַקְשוּ מְחִילָה מֵאֵת הַנֶּחְבָּל אוֹ הַנִּגְזָל אוֹ הַנִּגְנָב עַל הַצַּעַר שֶׁהָיָה לָהֶם. וְהֵם יִמְחֲלוּ וְלֹא יִהְיוּ אַכְזָרִים. (עַיֵן לְעֵיל סִימָן קלא סָעִיף ד)

8

If you see that your neighbor is in trouble, and you are able to save him, or to hire others to save him, you are obliged to trouble yourself or to hire others to save him. If he has the money to pay, you may ask him to repay the money you spent to save him. If he does not have the money, nevertheless, you may not shirk your duty because of this, and you must save him at your own expense. If you refuse to do so, you are guilty of transgressing the negative command, "Do not stand idly by when the blood of your neighbor [is in danger]."6 Likewise, if you hear wicked people devising a plot against your fellow Jew, or setting a trap for him, and you did not reveal it to him, or if you were able to appease them with money on his behalf, and thereby cause them to discard their plot, and you did not appease them, and other matters similar to this, you are guilty of transgressing the negative command, "Do not stand idly by when the blood of your neighbor" is in danger.7 He who saves one Jewish life is considered as if he had saved the whole world.8

ח

הָרוֹאֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּצָרָה, רַחְמָנָא לִצְּלָן, וְיָכוֹל לְהַצִּילוֹ הוּא בְעַצְמוֹ אוֹ לִשְׂכֹּר אֲחֵרִים לְהַצִּילוֹ, חַיָב לִטְרֹחַ וְלִשְׂכֹּר וּלְהַצִּילוֹ, וְחוֹזֵר וְנִפְרָע מִמֶּנּוּ אִם יֶשׁ לוֹ. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ, מִכָּל מָקוֹם לֹא יִמָּנַע בִּשְׁבִיל זֶה, וְיַצִּילֶנּוּ בְמָמוֹן שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאִם נִמְנַע, עוֹבֵר עַל לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ. וְכֵן אִם שָׁמַע מֵאֵיזֶה רְשָׁעִים מְחַשְׁבִים רָעָה עַל חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ טוֹמְנִים לוֹ פַח וְלֹא גִלָּה אָזְנוֹ לְהוֹדִיעוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁיָכוֹל לְפַיְסָם בְּמָמוֹן בִּגְלַל חֲבֵרוֹ וּלְהָסִיר מַה שֶׁבִּלְבָבָם וְלֹא פַיְסָם, וְכַיּוֹצֵא בַּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ, עוֹבֵר עַל לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ. וְכָל הַמְקַיֵם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִשְֹרָאֵל, כְּאִלּוּ קִיֵם עוֹלָם מָלֵא (וְעַיֵּן יורה דעה סִימָן קנח).

9

A person who is involved in counterfeiting (money) and it is feared he will jeopardize others,9 is considered as one who is endangering the lives of others. He must be warned to give up this activity. If he does not heed the warning, it is permitted to denounce him to the government, and to declare that no one else is engaged in this practice aside from him. Also, if a person is falsely accused because of him [the counterfeiter], he may tell them, "I am not involved in this, but so and so is the only one involved".

ט

מִי שֶׁעוֹסֵק בְזִיּוּפִים וְיֵש לָחוּשׁ שֶׁיְסַכֵּן בָּזֶה רַבִּים, דִּינוֹ כְּמוֹ רוֹדֵף, וּמַתְרִין בּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה. וְאִם אֵינוֹ מַשְׁגִּיחַ, מֻתָּר לְמָסְרוֹ לְמַּלְכוּת וְלוֹמַר, שֶׁאֵין אַחֵר מִתְעַסֵּק בָּזֶה אֶלָּא פְלוֹנִי לְבַדּוֹ. וְכֵן יָחִיד שֶׁמַּעֲלִילִים עָלָיו בִּגְלָלוֹ, יָכוֹל לוֹמַר לָהֶם, אֲנִי אֵינִי עוֹשֶׂה, אֶלָּא פְלוֹנִי לְבַדּוֹ.

10

It had been the custom for the seven elders of the city10 to set fines in cases of injuries, insults, and the like. (However,) they must not do anything independently of the Beis Din, since in regard to these matters, there are many diverse laws, and they may not impose a fine greater than what the halachah imposes. They should also not treat the dignity of the people lightly.

י

נוֹהֲגִין שֶׁשִּׁבְעָה טוֹבֵי הָעִיר דָּנִין דִינֵי קְנָסוֹת, כְּגוֹן עַל חֲבָלוֹת וְחֵרוּפִים וְכַדּוֹמֶה, וְאֵין לָהֶם לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר בְּלִי בֵית דִּין, כִּי יֵשׁ בְּעִנְיָנִים אֵלּוּ הַרְבֵּה חִלוּקֵי דִינִים, וְאֵין לַעֲשׂוֹת יוֹתֵר מִן הָרָאוּי עַל פִּי הַדָּת, וְאַל יְהִי קַל בְּעֵינֵיהֶם כְּבוֹד הַבְּרִיוֹת.

11

When a woman has severe complications in childbirth, so long as the fetus is unborn, it may be destroyed, either with medicine or with instruments; for as long as it is unborn it is not considered a living soul; and in order to save the [life of the] mother, it is permitted to destroy it; for it is like someone attempting to take the life of another.11 However, as soon as its head protrudes,12 it must not be touched, for one life is not to be sacrificed to save another, and this is the way of nature.13

יא

מְעֻבֶּרֶת שֶׁהִיא מַקְשָה לֵילֵד, כָּל זְמַן שֶהָעֻבָּר בְּתוֹךְ מֵעֶיהָ, מֻתָּרִין לְחַתְּכוֹ בֵּין בְסַם בֵּין בְּיָד, שֶׁכֹּל שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם, אֵין שֵׁם נֶפֶשׁ עָלָיו. וּבִשְׁבִיל לְהַצִּיל אֶת הָאֵם, מֻתָּרִין לְחַתְּכוֹ, מִשׁוּם דַּהֲוֵי לֵהּ כְּמוֹ רוֹדֵף אַחַר חֲבֵרוֹ לְהָרְגוֹ. אֲבָל כְּשֶׁהוֹצִיא רֹאשׁוֹ, אֵין נוֹגְעִין בּוֹ, שֶׁאֵין דּוֹחִין נֶפֶשׁ מִפְּנֵי נֶפֶשׁ, וְזֶהוּ טִבְעוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם.