Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cuthean as a Witness

The Mishna (Daf Yomi: Gittin Daf 10a) had stated: Any document that has a Cuthean witness signed on it is disqualified (for he is suspected of lying) except that of a get for a woman and for the freeing of a slave.

Tosfos writes that this Mishna is only according to those that hold that the Cutheans were true converts to Judaism, and Biblically, they are regarded as full-fledged Jews. However, according to those who maintain that the Cutheans only converted out of fear of the lions, they are not regarded as Jews, and they cannot be eligible as a witness.

The Ri”f rules that nowadays, the Cutheans are disqualified from all types of testimony, for they are considered like an ordinary idolater.

Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer asks: How can a Cuthean be qualified to testify? Even if they are not suspected to lie, but they deny the Oral Law, and certainly they should be ruled ineligible!

He writes that since this was the tradition that they accepted from their fathers, they are regarded as a child who was taken captive by idolaters (and the fact that he does not believe in the truth of the Oral law does not disqualify him, for he never knew any different), and therefore, they are not disqualified from being a witness.