Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Save us from Brazenness

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We conclude the daily morning blessings with the following: Blessed are You, Hashem, who bestows beneficent kindness upon His people Israel (Hagomel chasadim tovim l’amo Yisroel). This is immediately followed by the tefillah, May it be Your will, Hashem, my God, and the God of my forefathers, that You rescue me today and every day from brazen men and from brazenness etc. What is the connection between the two tefilos?

Reb Shmuel Leider in Nitei Eishel explains as follows: Our Gemora states: Rabbah said: Why did the Torah say that one who admits part of a claim must swear? It is because we assume that no man would be so insolent to deny his obligation in the face of his creditor. And since the Holy One, Blessed be He has showered us with beneficent kindness without any limits whatsoever, so much so that we cannot even thank Him sufficiently. As we say in nishmas: Even if our mouths would be as full of song as the sea, and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitude of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the breadth of the heavens etc., we still could not thank You sufficiently for even one of the thousand thousand, thousands of thousands and myriad of favors that You performed for our ancestors and for us. Accordingly, we are debtors to Hashem, so immediately after we thank Hashem for all the kindness He does for us, we pray that He should save us from brazenness, i.e. we should not Heaven forbid act insolently towards Hashem after all the kindness that He bestows upon us.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Oath Taken Outside of Beis Din

Rav Nachman said (Bava Kamma 106) that if a custodian swears falsely outside of Beis Din and afterwards witnesses testify against him, Rav would concede that he is still liable to pay kefel.

Rashi explains that an oath taken in Beis Din is stronger than one taken outside of Beis Din, and if one swears in Beis Din, the claim against him is dissolved.

It is also evident from the Gemora that if the plaintiff jumped up and adjured the custodian to swear before Beis Din had the chance to impose the oath upon him, and afterwards he admitted, Rav would concede that he is liable in paying the extra fifth and to bring a korban asham, but he will not be liable to pay the kefel.

The Rishonim cite Rabbeinu Chananel who explains that one who is Biblically mandated to take an oath in Beis Din, and he swears outside of Beis Din, or he swore in Beis Din before the court imposed the oath upon him, he is not exempt from his obligation and he can be mandated to swear again.

The Ramban and the Rashba disagree and hold that an oath taken outside of Beis Din is regarded as a valid oath and he would not be required to swear again. Our Gemora holds that one is not liable to pay kefel for such an oath, for it is not as strong as an oath imposed by the court.

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