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Din & Daf: The World of Shevuot

Din & Daf: Conceptual Analysis of Halakha Through Case Study with Dr. Elana Stein Hain

The World of Court-Mandated Shevuot (Oaths)

Dr. Elana Stein Hain โ€“ย dinanddaf@hadran.org.il

Printable source sheet

The opening mishnah in Bava Metzia requires an oath to be taken in order to split the (value of the) garment being held by both parties. This brings us into the world of oaths between litigants. In this shiur, we will give an overview of that area of rabbinic law.

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ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ

  • ืฉืžื•ืช ื›ื‘:ื™

ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”’ ืชื”ื™ื” ื‘ื™ืŸ ืฉื ื™ื”ื ืื ืœื ืฉืœื— ื™ื“ื• ื‘ืžืœืื›ืช ืจืขื”ื• ื•ืœืงื— ื‘ืขืœื™ื• ื•ืœื ื™ืฉืœื.ย 

An oath before God shall decide between the two of them that the one has not laid hands on the property of the other; the owner must acquiesce, and no restitution shall be made.

 

  • ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช ืžื”.

ื’ืžืณ ื›ืœ ื”ื ืฉื‘ืขื™ืŸ ืฉื‘ืชื•ืจื” ื ืฉื‘ืขื™ืŸ ื•ืœื ืžืฉืœืžื™ืŸ ืžื ืœืŸ ื“ืืžืจ ืงืจื (ืฉืžื•ืช ื›ื‘, ื™) ื•ืœืงื— ื‘ืขืœื™ื• ื•ืœื ื™ืฉืœื ืžื™ ืฉืขืœื™ื• ืœืฉืœื ืœื• ืฉื‘ื•ืขื”:

GEMARA: The mishna teaches: All those who take an oath that is legislated by the Torah take an oath and do not pay. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that oaths mandated by Torah law serve only to exempt one from payment? We derive it from the fact that the verse states: โ€œThe oath of the Lord shall be between them both, to see whether he has not put his hand on his neighborโ€™s goods; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitutionโ€ (Exodus 22:10). According to the verse, with regard to he who would otherwise need to pay, it is on him that the obligation to take the oath is imposed.

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช ืžืŸ ื”ืชื•ืจื”: (ื”ื ืชื‘ืข ื ืฉื‘ืข ื‘ื ืงื™ื˜ืช ื—ืคืฅ ื•ื ืคื˜ืจ ืžืœืฉืœื)

 

ืžื•ื“ื” ื‘ืžืงืฆืช ื”ื˜ืขื ื”

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ืฉื•ืžืจื™ื

 

ืขื“ ืื—ื“ ืžืขื™ื“ ื›ื ื’ื“ื•

 

  • ืžืฉื ื” ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช ื–:ืย 

ื›ืœ ื”ื ืฉื‘ืขื™ืŸ ืฉื‘ืชื•ืจื” ื ืฉื‘ืขื™ืŸ ื•ืœื ืžืฉืœืžื™ืŸ. ื•ืืœื• ื ืฉื‘ืขื™ืŸ ื•ื ื•ื˜ืœื™ืŸ: ื”ืฉื›ื™ืจ ื•ื”ื ื’ื–ืœ ื•ื”ื ื—ื‘ืœ ื•ืฉื›ื ื’ื“ื• ื—ืฉื•ื“ ืขืœ ื”ืฉื‘ื•ืขื” ื•ื”ื—ื ื•ื ื™ ืขืœ ืคื ืงืกื•โ€ฆ

All those who take an oath that is legislated by the Torah take an oath and do not pay. By Torah law, one takes an oath only in order to exempt oneself from a monetary claim. And these litigants take a rabbinically instituted oath and receive possession of the disputed funds or property, i.e., their claim is upheld by means of the oath, even though they are not in possession of the property in question

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช ืžื“ืจื‘ื ืŸ:ย 

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ืžืฉื ื” (ื”ืชื•ื‘ืข ื ืฉื‘ืข ื‘ื ืงื™ื˜ืช ื—ืคืฅ ื•ื ื•ื˜ืœ)

 

  • ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช ืž:

ืžื ื” ืœื™ ื‘ื™ื“ืš ืื™ืŸ ืœืš ื‘ื™ื“ื™ ืคื˜ื•ืจ: ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื ื—ืžืŸ ื•ืžืฉื‘ื™ืขื™ืŸ ืื•ืชื• ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ื™ืกืช ืžืื™ ื˜ืขืžื ื—ื–ืงื” ืื™ืŸ ืื“ื ืชื•ื‘ืข ืืœื ืื ื›ืŸ ื™ืฉ ืœื• ืขืœื™ื•

The mishna teaches that if the claimant said: I have one hundred dinars in your possession, and the defendant responded: Nothing of yours is in my possession, he is exempt. Rav Naแธฅman says: And the court administers an oath of inducement [heisset], an oath instituted by the Sages, to him. What is the reason? There is a presumption that one does not make a claim unless he has a valid case against the other party. Therefore, even though there is no admission to part of the claim, the defendantโ€™s denial should be examined through an oath.

 

ืื“ืจื‘ื” ื—ื–ืงื” ืื™ืŸ ืื“ื ืžืขื™ื– ืคื ื™ื• ื‘ืคื ื™ ื‘ืขืœ ื—ื•ื‘ื• ืืฉืชืžื•ื˜ื™ ื”ื•ื ื“ืงื ืžืฉืชืžื™ื˜ ืœื™ื” ืกื‘ืจ ืขื“ ื“ื”ื•ื” ืœื™ ื•ืคืจืขื ื ืœื™ื”

The Gemara objects: On the contrary; there is a presumption that a person does not exhibit insolence by lying in the presence of his creditor to deny the entire debt. Therefore, the defendantโ€™s denial of the entire claim suggests that he is telling the truth. The Gemara answers that a debtorโ€™s categorical denial is not necessarily out of insolence; he may be temporarily avoiding paying him. He rationalizes doing so by saying to himself: I am avoiding him only until the time that I have enough money, and then I will repay him.

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขื” ืžื“ืจื‘ื ืŸ:

 

ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ื™ืกืช: ื›ื•ืคืจ ื”ื›ืœ ื ืฉื‘ืข (ื”ื ืชื‘ืข ื ืฉื‘ืข ื•ื ืคื˜ืจ ื‘ืœื™ ื ืงื™ื˜ืช ื—ืคืฅ)

 

  • ืคื ื™ ื™ื”ื•ืฉืข ื‘ื‘ื ืžืฆื™ืขื ื”:

ืฉื ื•ื›ื™ ืžืื—ืจ ืฉื–ื” ืชืคื•ืก ื•ืขื•ืžื“ ื›ื•’ ืฉื‘ื•ืขื” ื–ื• ืœืžื”. ืคื™ืจื•ืฉ ื“ื›ื™ื•ืŸ ืฉืขื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืœื ื ืชืงื ื” ืฉื‘ื•ืขืช ื”ื™ืกืช ื‘ื™ืžื™ ื”ืžืฉื ื” ืืœื ื›ืœ ื”ืžื•ื—ื–ืง ื‘ื“ื‘ืจ ืคื˜ื•ืจ ืœื’ืžืจื™ ื•ื”ื™ื™ื ื• ืข”ื› ืžืฉื•ื ืฉืกืžื›ื• ืขืœ ื”ื—ื–ืงื” ืฉื›ืœ ืžื” ืฉื‘ื™ื“ ืื“ื ื”ื•ื ืฉืœื• ื•ืื—ื–ื•ืงื™ ืื™ื ืฉื™ ื‘ื’ื–ืœื ื ืœื ืžื—ื–ืงื™ื ืŸ ื•ื”ื› ื””ื  ื›ื™ื•ืŸ ืฉืฉื ื™ื”ื ืžื•ื—ื–ืงื™ื ื™ืฉ ืœื ื• ืœื•ืžืจ ื’”ื› ื—ื–ืงื” ืฉื”ื™ื ืฉืœ ืฉื ื™ื”ื ื•ืชืจื•ื•ื™ื™ื”ื• ื‘ื—ื–ืงืช ื›ืฉืจื•ืช ื”ื ื“ืงื•ืฉื˜ื ื“ืžื™ืœืชื ื“ืชืจื•ื•ื™ื™ื”ื• ื‘ื”ื“ื™ ื”ื“ื“ื™ ืื’ื‘ื”ื•ื” ืืœื ืฉื›ืœ ื’ ืื•ืžืจ ื‘ื“ื“ืžื™ ืฉื”ื•ื ื”ื’ื‘ื™ื” ืชื—ื™ืœื” ื“ื”ื ืœืฆืžืฆื ื•ืžื””ื˜ ื”ื™ื” ืœื ื• ืœื•ืžืจ ืฉื™ื—ืœื•ืงื• ื‘ืœื ืฉื‘ื•ืขื” ื•ืข”ื– ืžืฉื ื™ ื“ืชืงื ืช ื—ื›ืžื™ื ื•ื“ื•ืงื ื‘ื›ื””ื’ ืฉืฉื ื™ื”ื ืžื•ื—ื–ืงื™ืŸ ื‘ืฉื•ื” ืฉื™ื™ืš ืœืขืฉื•ืช ืชืงื ื” ื“ืฉื›ื™ื—ื ืžื™ืœืชื ื˜ื•ื‘ื ืฉื™ื•ื›ืœ ืื“ื ืœืชืคื•ืก ื‘ื“ื‘ืจ ื”ืื—ื•ื– ื‘ื™ื“ ื—ื‘ื™ืจื• ื•ืฉื™ืฉืœื˜ื• ื™ื“ื™ ืฉื ื™ื”ื ื‘ืฉื•ื”

 

  • ืชืœืžื•ื“ ื™ืจื•ืฉืœืžื™ ื›ืชื•ื‘ื•ืช ื‘ืณ:ืืณ

ื˜ึฐืขึธื ื•ึน ืžึฐื ึธื” ื•ึฐื›ึธืคึทืจ ื‘ึผื•ึน ื•ึฐื”ึตื‘ึดื™ื ืขึตื“ึดื™ื ืฉืึถื—ึทื™ื™ึธื‘ ืœื•ึน ื—ึฒืžึดืฉืึผึดื™ื. ืจึดื‘ึผึดื™ ื—ึดื™ื™ึธื” ืจึนื‘ึธื ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ื ึดืฉืึฐื‘ึผึทืข ืขึทืœ ื”ึทืฉืึผึฐืึธืจ. ืจึดื‘ึผึดื™ ื™ื•ึนื—ึธื ึธืŸ ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ืึตื™ื ื•ึน ื ึดืฉืึฐื‘ึผึทืข ืขึทืœ ื”ึทืฉืึผึฐืึธืจ. ืžึดืฉืึผึฐื ึทื™ึดื ืื•ึนื—ึฒื–ึดื™ืŸ ื‘ึผึฐื˜ึทืœึผึดื™ืช ืœึธืžึทื“ ืจึดื‘ึผึดื™ ื—ึดื™ื™ึธื” ืจึนื‘ึธื. ื“ึผึฐืชึทื ึผึดื™ื ึธืŸ ืชึผึทืžึผึธืŸ. ืฉืึฐื ึทื™ึดื ืื•ึนื—ึฒื–ึดื™ืŸ ื‘ึผึฐื˜ึทืœึผึดื™ืช. ื–ึถื” ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ืึฒื ึดื™ ืžึฐืฆึธืืชึดื™ื”ึธ. ื•ึฐื–ึถื” ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ืึฒื ึดื™ ืžึฐืฆึธืืชึดื™ื”ึธ. ื–ึถื” ืฉืึถืชึผื•ึนืคึตืก ื‘ึผึฐื—ึถืฆึฐื™ื™ึธื”ึผ ื›ึผึฐืžึตื‘ึดื™ื ืขึตื“ึดื™ื ืฉืึถื—ึถืฆึฐื™ึธื”ึผ ืฉืึถืœึผื•ึน. ื•ึทื”ึฒืœึธื”ึผ ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ื›ึผื•ึผืœึผึธื”ึผ ืฉืึถืœึผึดื™. ื•ึฐื–ึถื” ืฉืึถื”ื•ึผื ืชื•ึนืคึตืก ื‘ึผึฐื—ึถืฆึฐื™ื™ึธื”ึผ ื›ึผึฐืžึตื‘ึดื™ื ืขึตื“ึดื™ื ืฉืึถื—ึถืฆึฐื™ึธื”ึผ ืฉืึถืœึผื•ึน. ื•ึทื”ึฒืœึธื”ึผ ืื•ึนืžึตืจ. ื›ึผื•ึผืœึผึธื”ึผ ืฉืึถืœึผึดื™. ื ึดืฉืึฐื‘ึผึทืข ืฉืึถืึตื™ืŸ ื›ึผื•ึผืœึผึธื”ึผ ืฉืึถืœึผื•ึน. ื•ึฐืœึนื ืฉืึฐืžึดื™ืขึท ื“ึผึธืžึทืจ ืจึดื‘ึผึดื™ ืึดื™ืœึธื ื‘ึฐืฉืึตื ืจึดื‘ึผึดื™ ื™ื•ึนื—ึธื ึธืŸ. ืชึผึฐืงึธื ึทืช ืฉืึฐื‘ื•ึผืขึธื” ื”ึดื™ื. ืฉืึถืœึผึนื ื™ึฐื”ึตื ืึธื“ึธื ืจื•ึนืึถื” ืึถืช ื—ึฒื‘ึตื™ืจื•ึน ื‘ึทืฉืึผื•ึผืง ื•ึฐืื•ึนืžึตืจ ืœื•ึน. ื˜ึทืœึผึดื™ืช ืฉืึถืขึธืœึถื™ืšึธ ืฉืึถืœึผึดื™ ื”ื•ึผื. ื‘ึผื•ึนื ื•ึฐื—ึทืœึผึตืง ืขึดืžึผึดื™ ื˜ึทืœึผึดื™ืชึธืšึฐ.ย 

If the plaintiff claimed (to be owed) 100 zuz, and the defendant denied all of it; and the plaintiff brought witnesses that the defendant owes 50 zuz: R. Hiyya Rabbah says, he swears about the rest. R. Yohanan says he does not. R. Hiyya Rabbah learned his position from the case of two people holding a found garment, as we learned there: Two people holding a garment: this one says it is all mine, and that one says it is all mine – the fact that each litigant is holding half of it is like bringing witnesses that it belongs to him. And the other person says: it is all mine; he swears that it is not all his. And he did not hear what R. Illa said in the name of R. Yochanan: this is a decreed oath so that a person wonโ€™t see their fellow in the market and say, the garment that youโ€™re wearing is mine; letโ€™s split it.ย 

 

Dr.ย Elanaย Stein Hainย is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teachesย Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating Talmudic discussions; she authoredย Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrityย (pre-order discount code: PENN-ESHAIN30)ย which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hostsย For Heavenโ€™s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world.ย Elanaย has also startedย TEXTing; a podcast where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.

 


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Beyond the Daf is where you will discover enlightening shiurim led by remarkable women, delving deep into the intricacies of Talmudic teachings, and exploring relevant and thought-provoking topics that arise from the Daf.

Dr. Elana Stein Hain

Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity (pre-order discount code: PENN-ESHAIN30) which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heavenโ€™s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. In mid-January, Elana will be starting a new podcast called TEXTing, where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.
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