- 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.