- Question: How would a rabbi
teach a litigant to lie if before the court case he heard his side and not the
other side and then wrote down his thoughts on the case although not writing a
final decision (see Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 17:5 in the Rema)?
A. The Vilna Gaon (note
11) says this ruling is based on a Mishna in Pirkay Avos (1:9) “Shimon ben
Shetach says: Interrogate the witnesses extensively; and be cautious with your
words, lest they learn to lie.
B. The Artscroll footnote in the siddur on
this Mishna says: “Speak carefully to witnesses and litigants, lest the
direction of your interrogation gives them a hint on how to fabricate their
testimony to tell you what they think you are looking for.
C. The Rema say the same issue would be if the sage would tell the litigant after he explains his side of the case, “if so then this is how it should turn out…”
Answer: Because now this litigant can use what he heard from the rabbi or what the sage wrote up to strengthen his defense whether it is right or wrong since the rabbi only heard one side of the argument.
- Question: Why does a boycott fall on relatives who don’t come
through in one case but not in the other?
A. In Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 16:3 it says that if one of the litigants has a claim to win the case with witnesses or proof but does not know who they are or who has the proof the judge must put a boycott on anyone who knows the litigant’s innocence through witnesses or proof, in order to come forward and inform the court. The Be’er Heitiv (8) says this boycott applies to relatives of the litigant as well.
B. In 28:2 the Rema says that we poskin that when a person makes an announcement in shul that anyone who can testify for him should do so or be put in boycott that does not apply to relatives since according to the Torah relatives cannot testify.
The Sm”a 28:2:19 and the Be’er Heitiv quoted before says that in the first case we are just looking for people who know the witnesses or proof to bring the forward but in the second case the boycott is on those actually needing to testify and relatives aren’t allowed to testify so they are excluded from the boycott even if they knew what happened.
- Question: If a
blotch of ink fell all over the name of Hashem in the Torah why are you allowed
to erase it in order to fix it?
A. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 276:9) says one is forbidden to erase even one letter from the Seven Names of G-D which cannot be erased, even when writing a Torah scroll.
B. If one wrote the small leg of a “hey,” while writing Hashem’s name, too close to the top so it looks like a “ches” he is allowed to erase or scrape off the top part of the letter to make it look like a “hey”.
Answer: The Rema in si’if 11 considers it fixing, not erasing.