When an ox belonging to an Israelite gores an ox that was consecrated1 or an ox that was consecrated gores an ox belonging to an Israelite, [the owner of the goring ox] is not liable, [as implied by Exodus 21:35]: "[If one person's ox injures] an ox belonging to a colleague...."2 All consecrated entities for which one is held liable for using them for one's own purposes3 are not bound by the laws of damages.4 Animals that were consecrated and then disqualified5 are bound by the laws of damages. This applies regardless of whether it is they who cause the damage, or they who are damaged. For they have been redeemed and can be considered ordinary.6


שׁוֹר שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּגַח שׁוֹר שֶׁל הֶקְדֵּשׁ אוֹ שׁוֹר שֶׁל הֶקְדֵּשׁ שֶׁנָּגַח שׁוֹר שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא לה) "שׁוֹר רֵעֵהוּ". וְכָל הַקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁחַיָּבִין בָּהֶן מְעִילָה אֵין בָּהֶן דִּין נְזָקִין. וּפְסוּלֵי הַמֻּקְדָּשִׁין יֵשׁ בָּהֶן דִּין נְזָקִין בֵּין שֶׁהִזִּיקוּ בֵּין שֶׁהֻזְּקוּ שֶׁהֲרֵי יָצְאוּ לַפִּדְיוֹן וְלִהְיוֹתָם חֻלִּין:


When [an animal consecrated for] a peace offering causes damage, the damages may be collected from its meat.7 [The person whose property was damaged] does not, however, collect his due from the portions burned on the altar. For the prohibition against using consecrated property for one's own purposes applies to the portions of sacrifices of lesser sanctity8 burned on the altar, as explained in Hilchot Me'ilah.9 Similarly, [if an animal consecrated for] a thanksgiving offering causes damage, the damages may be collected from its meat. They may not, however, be collected from the bread that accompanies it,10 for the bread is not considered to be part of the meat.


שְׁלָמִים שֶׁהִזִּיקוּ גּוֹבֶה מִבְּשָׂרָם וְאֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִן הַבָּשָׂר כְּנֶגֶד אֵימוּרֵיהֶן. שֶׁהָאֵימוּרִים שֶׁל קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים מוֹעֲלִין בָּהֶן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מְעִילָה. וְכֵן תּוֹדָה שֶׁהִזִּיקָה גּוֹבֶה מִבְּשָׂרָהּ וְאֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִן הַלֶּחֶם הַבָּא עִמָּהּ שֶׁאֵין הַלֶּחֶם מִכְּלַל בָּשָׂר:


How can [the person whose property was damaged] collect [his due]? He and his company should eat, in a holy manner, a portion of the meat equivalent to half the damages he suffered.11 What is meant by the statement that [the person whose property was damaged] does not, however, collect his due from the portions burned on the altar? That if half the damages he suffered was equivalent to a dinar, and the meat and the portions to be offered on the altar together were worth two dinarim, but the meat without the portions to be offered was worth only a dinar and a half, [the person whose property was damaged] receives only half the meat, and not two thirds of the meat.


וְכֵיצַד גּוֹבֶה. שֶׁיֹּאכַל הַנִּזָּק וַחֲבוּרָתוֹ מִן הַבָּשָׂר בִּקְדֻשָּׁה כְּנֶגֶד חֲצִי נֵזֶק שֶׁלּוֹ. וְכֵיצַד אֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה כְּנֶגֶד הָאֵימוּרִין. שֶׁאִם הָיָה לוֹ לִגְבּוֹת בַּחֲצִי נִזְקוֹ שְׁוֵה דִּינָר וְהָיָה כָּל הַבָּשָׂר עִם הָאֵימוּרִין שָׁוֶה שְׁנֵי דִּינָרִים וְהַבָּשָׂר בְּלֹא אֵימוּרִין שָׁוֶה דִּינָר וָחֵצִי אֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה שְׁנֵי שְׁלִישִׁי הַבָּשָׂר אֶלָּא חֲצִי הַבָּשָׂר בִּלְבַד:


Similarly, an ox that is ownerless and causes damage is also not held responsible for the damage it causes. [This is also derived from the phrase,] "an ox belonging to a colleague," implying that the ox must be defined as the property of an owner. What is implied? When an ox that is ownerless gores [another ox], and before the person whose property was damaged takes possession of [the goring ox] another person does so, that other person is not liable for the damages.12Moreover, even if an ox that is defined as the property of an owner causes damage, and afterwards the owner consecrates it or declares it ownerless, [payment is] not expropriated [from the body of the ox]. [For payment to be expropriated], it must be owned by one person at the time it caused the damage and at the time of the the trial.13


וְכֵן שׁוֹר הֶפְקֵר שֶׁהִזִּיק פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא לה) "שׁוֹר רֵעֵהוּ" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַנְּכָסִים מְיֻחָדִים לַבְּעָלִים. כֵּיצַד. שׁוֹר הַהֶפְקֵר שֶׁנָּגַח וְקֹדֶם שֶׁיִּתְפּשֹׁ אוֹתוֹ הַנִּזָּק בָּא אַחֵר וְזָכָה בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שׁוֹר הַמְיֻחָד לַבְּעָלִים שֶׁהִזִּיק וְאַחַר שֶׁהִזִּיק הַקְדִּישׁוֹ אוֹ הִפְקִירוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ בְּעָלִים בִּשְׁעַת הֶזֵּקוֹ וּבִשְׁעַת הַעֲמָדָה בַּדִּין:


When an ox - whether a tam or a mu'ad - belonging to a Jew gores an ox belonging to a gentile, [the Jew] is not liable. [The rationale is] that the gentiles do not hold a person responsible for damage caused by his livestock.14 Therefore we judge this case according to their laws.15 When, by contrast, an ox - whether a tam or a mu'ad - belonging to a gentile gores an ox belonging to a Jew, [the gentile] must pay the entire amount of the damages. This is a penalty imposed upon the gentiles because they are not careful about [the observance of] the mitzvot,16 and they do not remove factors that can cause damage. If we will not hold them liable for the damage caused by their animals, they will not guard them, and [the animals] will destroy other people's property.


שׁוֹר שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּגַח שׁוֹר שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם בֵּין תָּם בֵּין מוּעָד פָּטוּר. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין הָעַכּוּ''ם מְחַיְּבִין אֶת הָאָדָם עַל בְּהֶמְתּוֹ שֶׁהִזִּיקָה וַהֲרֵי אָנוּ דָּנִין לָהֶם כְּדִינֵיהֶם. וְשׁוֹר שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁנָּגַח שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין תָּם בֵּין מוּעָד מְשַׁלֵּם נֵזֶק שָׁלֵם. קְנָס הוּא זֶה לְעַכּוּ''ם לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן זְהִירִין בְּמִצְוֹת וְאֵינָן מְסַלְּקִין הַנֵּזֶק וְאִם לֹא תְּחַיֵּב אוֹתָן עַל נִזְקֵי בְּהֶמְתָּן אֵין מְשַׁמְּרִין אוֹתָהּ וּמַפְסִידִין מָמוֹן הַבְּרִיּוֹת:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


When an ox that is tam causes damage and then is sold by its owner before the trial takes place, the person whose property was damaged may collect his due from it17 despite the fact that it was sold.18 Afterwards, the purchaser should collect that sum from the [previous] owner who sold it to him. [The rationale for this ruling is]19 that once an ox has gored, the matter becomes known, and the purchaser should not have purchased the animal until the one whose property was damaged had collected his due.


שׁוֹר תָּם שֶׁהִזִּיק אִם מְכָרוֹ הַמַּזִּיק עַד שֶׁלֹּא עָמַד בַּדִּין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מָכוּר הֲרֵי הַנִּזָּק גּוֹבֶה הֵימֶנּוּ וְחוֹזֵר הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְגוֹבֶה מִן הַמַּזִּיק שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּגַח קוֹל יֵשׁ לוֹ וְלֹא הָיָה לוֹ לַלּוֹקֵחַ לִקַּח עַד שֶׁיִּגְבֶּה הַנִּזָּק:


If [the owner of an ox that] caused damage consecrates [the ox], it is consecrated. [This law was instituted] so that people will not say, "An animal that was consecrated can lose its status without being redeemed."20 [If the owner] slaughters the ox, [the person whose property was damaged] may collect his due from the meat.21 [If the owner] gives it away as a present, [the present] is binding,22 but [the person whose property was damaged] may collect his due from [the animal].


הִקְדִּישׁוֹ הַמַּזִּיק הֲרֵי זֶה מֻקְדָּשׁ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ הֶקְדֵּשׁ יוֹצֵא בְּלֹא פִּדְיוֹן. שְׁחָטוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִבְּשָׂרוֹ. נְתָנוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה מַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה עָשׂוּי וְיִגְבֶּה הַנִּזָּק מִמֶּנּוּ:


If [an ox] caused damage, there was a trial, and afterwards, [the owner] sold it, the sale is of no consequence. If he consecrated it, it is not consecrated, and if he gave it away as a present, the present is of no consequence.23 If the creditors of the owner [of the ox] seize it first, [to collect their due from it], they are not entitled to retain possession. Instead, the person whose property was damaged collects his due from it. This applies whether the debt was undertaken before the damage was done24 or afterwards. [The rationale is] that even if it belonged to the creditors at the outset and caused damage, [the person whose property was damaged] would be entitled to collect his due.25


הִזִּיק וְעָמַד בַּדִּין וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְכָרוֹ אֵינוֹ מָכוּר. הִקְדִּישׁוֹ אֵינוֹ מֻקְדָּשׁ. נְתָנוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה לֹא עָשָׂה וְלֹא כְּלוּם. קָדְמוּ בַּעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת שֶׁל מַזִּיק וּתְפָסוּהוּ בֵּין שֶׁחָב עַד שֶׁלֹּא הִזִּיק בֵּין הִזִּיק עַד שֶׁלֹּא חָב לֹא זָכוּ אֶלָּא הַנִּזָּק גּוֹבֶה מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שֶׁל בַּעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת מִתְּחִלָּה וְהִזִּיק הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה מִגּוּפוֹ:


[The following rules apply when] an ox that is mu'ad causes damage: Regardless of whether the trial took place already or not, if [the owner] has consecrated it, sold it, given it as a present or slaughtered it, his deed is binding. If the creditors of the owner lead [the ox] away before [the person whose property was damaged takes possession of it], they acquire it. [This applies] whether the debt owed them was made before the damage took place or afterwards.26 [The rationale is that] the person whose property was damaged is entitled to collect his due from the choicest property belonging to the owner. All of [the owner's] property is on lien because of the damage caused.27


מוּעָד שֶׁהִזִּיק בֵּין עָמַד בַּדִּין בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא עָמַד בַּדִּין וְהִקְדִּישׁוֹ אוֹ מְכָרוֹ אוֹ נְתָנוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה אוֹ שְׁחָטוֹ. מַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה עָשׂוּי. קָדְמוּ בַּעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת וְהִנְהִיגוּהוּ בֵּין חָב עַד שֶׁלֹּא הִזִּיק בֵּין הִזִּיק עַד שֶׁלֹּא חָב זָכוּ בּוֹ. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין מִשְׁתַּלֵּם הַנִּזָּק אֶלָּא מִן הַמְעֻלֶּה שֶׁבְּנִכְסֵי הַמַּזִּיק וַהֲרֵי כָּל נְכָסָיו מְשֻׁעְבָּדִין לְנֶזֶק זֶה:


When, for the person whose property was damaged, the court is required to expropriate property belonging to the person who caused the damage,28 his movable property should be expropriated first.29 If he does not own any movable property, or the property he owns is not sufficient to pay for all the damages, the remainder should be expropriated from the choicest properties he owns. As long as movable property is found, even property of inferior quality,30 landed property should not be expropriated.


כְּשֶׁבֵּית דִּין נִזְקָקִין לִגְבּוֹת לַנִּזָּק מִנִּכְסֵי הַמַּזִּיק גּוֹבִין מִן הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין תְּחִלָּה וְאִם לֹא הָיוּ לוֹ מִטַּלְטְלִין כְּלָל אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ לוֹ מִטַּלְטְלִין כְּנֶגֶד כָּל הַנֵּזֶק גּוֹבִין הַשְּׁאָר מִן הַקַּרְקַע הַמְעֻלָּה שֶׁבְּנִכְסֵי הַמַּזִּיק. וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁיִּמְצְאוּ מִטַּלְטְלִין וַאֲפִלּוּ סֻבִּין אֵין נִזְקָקִין לַקַּרְקַע:


If the person who caused the damage dies before he pays, the court does not expropriate the movable property belonging to his heirs. Instead, [they expropriate] the landed property [in the estate], taking that of least value.31 [The rationale is that] the person whose property was damaged becomes one of the creditors [of the person who caused the damage], and movable property is never considered to be on lien to a creditor. If the person whose property was damaged [seized] possession of movable property [belonging to] the person who caused the damage in the latter's lifetime, payment for the damages may be collected from this [movable property] after his death.


מֵת הַמַּזִּיק קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם אֵין בֵּית דִּין נִזְקָקִין לַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים אֶלָּא לַקַּרְקַע. וְגוֹבִין לַנִּזָּק מִן הַזִּבּוּרִית. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַנִּזָק נַעֲשָׂה כְּבַעַל חוֹב וְהַמִּטַּלְטְלִין אֵינָן מְשֻׁעְבָּדִין לְבַעַל חוֹב. וְאִם תָּפַס הַנִּזָּק הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין בְּחַיֵּי הַמַּזִּיק גּוֹבִין לוֹ מֵהֶם לְאַחַר מוֹתוֹ:


The Geonim have already ordained that a debt owed a creditor can be expropriated from the movable property [in the estate].32 This ruling has been accepted by all the [Jewish] courts of law.33 Therefore, damages may also be expropriated from movable property left to heirs. If [the deceased] did not leave any movable property, [the creditor] may expropriate the landed property of least value. For as explained [in the previous halachah], whenever a person seeks to expropriate property from heirs, he is given the property of the least value.


כְּבָר תִּקְּנוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים לִגְבּוֹת בַּעַל חוֹב מִן הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין. וּפָשְׁטָה תַּקָּנָה זוֹ בְּכָל בָּתֵּי דִּינִין. לְפִיכָךְ מְגַבִּין הַנְּזָקִין מִן הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים. וְאִם לֹא הִנִּיחַ מִטַּלְטְלִין גּוֹבִין לוֹ מִן הַזִּבּוּרִית שֶׁכָּל הַבָּא לִפָּרַע מִנִּכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים לֹא יִפָּרַע אֶלָּא מִן הַזִּבּוּרִית כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


Damages should not be collected, nor is an atonement fine imposed, nor is an animal executed34 unless definite proof is brought [as substantiated] by acceptable witnesses. We do not say that since only shepherds,35 servants,36 and the like are found in the stables of horses, the stalls of cattle and the corrals of sheep, their testimony should be accepted if they testify that one animal damaged another. Similarly, if minors or women37 testify that one person injured another or caused another type of damage, [one might think] that we rely on them. This is not so.38 Instead, financial redress is required because of the testimony of witnesses only when the witnesses are acceptable and fit to testify with regard to other matters, and they give testimony, [on which basis] the court obligates the one who caused the damage to pay.


אֵין הַנְּזָקִין מִשְׁתַּלְּמִין וְאֵין חַיָּבִין בְּכֹפֶר וְאֵין הַבְּהֵמָה נֶהֱרֶגֶת אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה וּבְעֵדִים הַכְּשֵׁרִים לְהָעִיד. שֶׁלֹּא תֹּאמַר הוֹאִיל וְאֵין מְצוּיִין בְּאֻרְווֹת הַסּוּסִים וּבְרֶפֶת הַבָּקָר וְגִדְרוֹת צֹאן אֶלָּא הָעֲבָדִים וְהָרוֹעִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אִם הֵעִידוּ שֶׁבְּהֵמָה זוֹ הִזִּיקָה אֶת זוֹ שׁוֹמְעִין לָהֶם וְאִם הֵעִידוּ קְטַנִּים אוֹ נָשִׁים שֶׁאָדָם זֶה חָבַל אֶת זֶה אוֹ הֵעִידוּ בִּשְׁאָר נְזָקִין סוֹמְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן. אֵין הַדָּבָר כֵּן. אֶלָּא אֵין מְחַיְּבִין לְעוֹלָם מָמוֹן עַל פִּי עֵדִים עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵדִים הַכְּשֵׁרִים לְהָעִיד שְׁאָר עֵדֻיּוֹת וְיָעִידוּ וִיחַיְּבוּ בֵּית דִּין הַמַּזִּיק לְשַׁלֵּם:


When an ox was pasturing at the edge of a river, and another ox is found dead near him, even though the dead ox was gored, and this ox was prone to gore - or the dead ox was bitten and this ox was prone to bite - we do not say: "One can be certain that this bit it, or this gored it." Even if one of a group of camels is known to bite, and another camel is found dead at its side, we do not say that it is certain that this one killed it, unless the matter was observed by acceptable witnesses.39


שׁוֹר שֶׁהָיָה רוֹעֶה עַל גַּבֵּי הַנָּהָר וְנִמְצָא שׁוֹר הָרוּג בְּצִדּוֹ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזֶּה מְנֻגָּח וְזֶה מוּעָד לִגַּח זֶה מְנֻשָּׁךְ וְזֶה מוּעָד לִשַּׁךְ. אֵין אוֹמְרִים בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁזֶּה נְשָׁכוֹ וְזֶה נְגָחוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ גָּמָל הָאוֹחֵר בֵּין הַגְּמַלִּים וְנִמְצָא [גָּמָל] הָרוּג בְּצִדּוֹ אֵין אוֹמְרִים בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁזֶּה הֲרָגוֹ עַד שֶׁרָאוּהוּ עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים: