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Enforcing the Law Yourself

Liability for Damages, Lesson 3

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Enforcing the Law Yourself: Liability for Damages, Lesson 3

May we ever take the law into our own hands, or must one always go to the courts – at all costs – to enforce the law?
Talmud Text (English)  
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Originial Hebrew Text  
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Torts; Damages, Talmud

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Anonymous Jerusalem September 1, 2013

I was very pleased to hear that you choose the example of the bike for this teaching.
I had the exact experience that you described. Someone stole my bike , and bragged about it ! So I asked it back , but the man refused. I involved the police who acted as you described . The man then denied he had the bike , but the police searched his house and found it. The bike was marked , so , I got it back . But what follows is not in the example . Later , even when my bike was fastened with a lock , the man just picked it up again , put it on a truck and left with it. I went back to the police , but this time he was smart enough to not hide it in his house --- so , I never got my bike back. The reason I bring this is , when you go to court , the man can just dissapear with your belonging , nomatter what it is he stole ...... Reply

Anonymous USA August 23, 2013

Anyone would interpret "smash his teeth" as a violent act. Especially an ignorant person of the Mishnah. And it is the tendency of most people to try to retrieve their own property by force, physically, if possible. Why doesn't the Mishnah state smash his teeth? The legal system was created to protect the public for that reason. This is a very interesting teaching. I am very happy to learn from it. Thank you Rabbi Bitton. Reply

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