Sunday, February 22, 2009

Laws of Heaven

By: Rabbi Avrohom Adler

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The Gemora (Bava Kamma 56) cites a Mishna: If one sends out a fire in the hands of a deaf-mute, an imbecile or a minor (and it consequently burned someone’s haystack), he is not liable to pay according to the laws of man, but he is liable according to the laws of Heaven. If, however, he sent out the fire in the hands of a competent person, the competent person is liable to pay for the damages.

It would seem that in the case where the sender sent the fire with a competent person, the sender is not liable at all, even under the laws of Heaven!

The Ram”a (C”M: 32:2) rules that if one sends out false witnesses to testify against someone, and they cause that fellow a loss, the sender is not liable at all, even under the laws of Heaven. This is because we say that there cannot be a shliach to commit a transgression.

The Sha”ch disagrees and maintains that the sender will be liable to pay under the laws of Heaven. He explains the distinction between the two cases. The sender will always be liable under the laws of Heaven. The only reason that the sender is not required to pay at all in the case of the fire is because once the competent person is liable to pay, there is no place for the sender to be liable as well!


Ari Goldwag said...

what happened to דברי הרב ודברי התלמיד?

Ari Goldwag said...

in other words, being that the shliach should not have listened, the action is not מיוחס to me, so what exactly have I done wrong? ותו, if the shliach would indeed not listen, would have a חיוב בידי שמים for the attempt (similar to a woman's neder that was annulled and she didn't know)?

Avromi said...

The halachos os shlichus are necessary only for the chiyuv bidei adam. He can be chayav bdinei shamayim even though the action is not meyuchas to him. He is chayav because through him - a loss came about.

As far as your second question goes; I would assume that it goes under the regular rule that Hakadosh Boruch Hu does not punish for a machshavah.


Ari Goldwag said...

I hear, and I think it's clear from the Gemara that speaks about Dovid Hamelech being considered that he killed Uriyah, even though he didn't even technically send the enemies to kill Uriyah, that it might not even matter whether the action is מיוחס at all to the sender - just the fact that Dovid put Uriyah in a matzav that would cause his death was enough for a חיוב בידי שמים.

I'm curious as to what you would say to what I just posted on my blog about דעת בעלים.

Doron Beckerman said...

Avromi and Ari,

See Kiddushin 43a, which is the prooftext of the Shach, that one who sends someone else to murder is חייב בדיני שמים בדינא זוטא - as a גורם to murder (unlike Shammai who holds he is punished בדינא רבה).

There are a number of answers for Tosfos and the Rema. See Maharatz Chajes and Pnei Yehoshua (relates to David and Uriah as well).

Ari's question, albeit regarding the case of hiring witnesses - where the Gemara says that despite the idea of דברי הרב he is still חייב בדיני שמים is asked by the Chavos Yair (166). He answers based on a Sma that the whole Sevara of דברי הרב and אשלד"ע is that he thought that the messenger would not listen, but in a case where he is paying he can't make such an assumption and he is therefore חייב בדיני שמים.