- Question: Why can a judge help a litigant who is trying to say something but is having problems articulating but if he says he is owed a lesser amount then what he really is the judge cannot correct that?
(A) The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat siman 17) says in si’if 9: “If a judge sees a winning argument for one of the litigants and the litigant is trying to say it but does not know how to properly put his words together or they see he is having a hard time trying to save himself with truthful claims and because of anger and frustration he is forgetting things or mixing things up out of foolishness, then a judge can help him and prepare the beginning of his statements because of the concept of ‘opening the mouth for the mute’. But he has to be very careful not to act like a lawyer.
(B) In si’if 12 The Rema says that if a claimant has a claim on his friend over a smaller amount of money and the judge sees that he is actually owed more money technically than what he is asking for, the judge can’t poskin that he should get more than what he is asking for and if he does it is a mistake in judgment and the extra money must be given back.
(C) The Shach (15) says we are not dealing with a case where he explicitly forgoes part of what he is owed, neither does it make sense that we know for sure that he is unaware of his mistaken claim.
Answer: In the latter case we don’t know whether he purposely is asking for less or not so the judge can’t say anything. But in the first case it is obvious that he was trying to say something it was just not coming out correctly so the judge is allowed to help him.